The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Jest Book

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: The Jest Book

Author: Mark Lemon

Release date: January 13, 2007 [eBook #20352]
Most recently updated: January 1, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, Christine D. and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


The Jest Book


University Press: Welch, Bigelow, & Co.


The Jest Book




Title page


Preface decorative


The Compiler of this new Jest Book is desirous to make known that it is composed mainly of old jokes,—some older than Joe Miller himself,—with a liberal sprinkling of new jests gathered from books and hearsay. In the course of his researches he has been surprised to find how many Jests, Impromptus, and Repartees have passed current, century after century, until their original utterer is lost in the "mist of ages"; a Good Joke being transferred from one reputed Wit to another, thus resembling certain rare Wines which are continually being rebottled but are never consumed. Dr. Darwin and Sir Charles Lyell, when they have satisfied themselves as to the Origin of Species and the Antiquity of Man, could not better employ their speculative minds than in determining the origin and antiquity of the venerable "joes" which have been in circulation beyond the remembrance of that mythical personage, "the Oldest Inhabitant."

A true Briton loves a good joke, and regards it like "a thing of beauty," "a joy forever," therefore we may opine that Yorick's "flashes of merriment, which were wont to set the table in a roar," when Hamlet was king in Denmark, were transported hither by our Danish invaders, and [Pg vi]descended to Wamba, Will Somers, Killigrew, and other accredited jesters, until Mr. Joseph Miller reiterated many of them over his pipe and tankard, when seated with his delighted auditory at the Black Jack in Clare Market.

Modern Research has been busy with honest Joe's fame, decreeing the collection of his jests to Captain Motley, who wrote short-lived plays in the time of the First and Second Georges; but the same false Medium has affected to discover that Dick Whittington did not come to London City at the tail of a road wagon, neither was he be-ladled by a cross cook, and driven forth to Highgate, when Bow Bells invited him to return and make venture of his Cat, marry Fitzalwyn's daughter, and be thrice Lord Mayor of London, albeit it is written in City chronicles, that Whittington's statue and the effigy of his gold-compelling Grimalkin long stood over the door of New Gate prison-house. We would not have destroyed the faith of the Rising Generation and those who are to succeed it in that Golden Legend, to have been thought as wise as the Ptolemies, or to have been made president of all the Dryasdusts in Europe. No. Let us not part with our old belief in honest Joe Miller, but trust rather to Mr. Morley, the historian of Bartlemy Fair, and visit the Great Theatrical Booth over against the Hospital gate of St. Bartholomew, where Joe, probably, is to dance "the English Maggot dance," and after the appearance of "two Harlequins, conclude with a Grand Dance and Chorus, accompanied with Kettledrums- and Trumpets." And when the Fair is over, and we are no longer invited to "walk up," let us march in the train of the great Mime, until he takes his ease in his inn,—the Black Jack aforesaid,—and laugh at his jibes and flashes of [Pg vii]merriment, before the Mad Wag shall be silenced by the great killjoy, Death, and the jester's boon companions shall lay him in the graveyard in Portugal Fields, placing over him a friendly record of his social virtues.

Joe Miller was a fact, and Modern Research shall not rob us of that conviction!

The compiler of this volume has felt the importance of his task, and diligently sought how to distinguish true wit from false,—the pure gold from Brummagem brass. He has carefully perused the Eight learned chapters on "Thoughts on Jesting," by Frederick Meier, Professor of Philosophy at Halle, and Member of the Royal Academy of Berlin, wherein it is declared that a jest "is an extreme fine Thought, the result of a great Wit and Acumen, which are eminent Perfections of the Soul." ... "Hypocrites, with the appearance but without the reality of virtue, condemn from the teeth outwardly the Laughter and Jesting which they sincerely approve in their hearts; and many sincere virtuous Persons also account them criminal, either from Temperament, Melancholy, or erroneous Principles of Morality. As the Censure of such Persons gives me pain, so their Approbation would give me great pleasure. But as long as they consider the suggestions of their Temperament, deep Melancholy, and erroneous Principles as so many Dictates of real Virtue, so long they must not take it amiss if, while I revere their Virtue, I despise their Judgment."

Nor has he disregarded Mr. Locke, who asserts that "Wit lies in an assemblage of ideas, and putting them together with quickness and vivacity, whenever can be found any resemblance and congruity whereby to make up pleasant pictures and agreeable visions of fancy."

Neither has Mr. Addison been overlooked, who limits his definition by observing that "an assemblage of Ideas[Pg viii] productive merely of pleasure does not constitute Wit, but of those only which to delight add surprise."

Nor has he forgotten Mr. Pope, who declares Wit "to consist in a quick conception of Thought and an easy Delivery"; nor the many other definitions by Inferior hands, "too numerous to mention."

The result of an anxious consideration of these various Opinions, was a conviction that to define Wit was like the attempt to define Beauty, "which," said the Philosopher, "was the question of a Blind man"; and despairing, therefore, of finding a Standard of value, the Compiler of the following pages has gathered from every available source the Odd sayings of all Times, carefully eschewing, however, the Coarse and the Irreverent, so that of the Seventeen Hundred Jests here collected, not one need be excluded from Family utterance. Of course, every one will miss some pet Jest from this Collection, and, as a consequence, declare it to be miserably incomplete. The Compiler mentions this probability to show that he has not been among the Critics for nothing.

"The gravest beast is an ass; the gravest bird is an owl;
The gravest fish is an oyster; and the gravest man is a fool!"

says honest Joe Miller; and with that Apophthegm the Compiler doffs his Cap and Bells, and leaves you, Gentle Reader, in the Merry Company he has brought together.



[Pg 1]

First page decorative



Pope dining once with Frederic, Prince of Wales, paid the prince many compliments. "I wonder, Pope," said the prince, "that you, who are so severe on kings, should be so complaisant to me."—"It is," said the wily bard, "because I like the lion before his claws are grown."


Sir Watkin Williams Wynne talking to a friend about the antiquity of his family, which he carried up to Noah, was told that he was a mere mushroom of yesterday. "How so, pray?" said the baronet. "Why," continued the other, "when I was in Wales, a pedigree of a particular family was shown to me: it filled five large skins of parchment, and near the middle of it was a note in the margin: 'About this time the world was created.'"


A certain noble lord being in his early years much addicted to dissipation, his mother advised him to take example by a gentleman, whose food was herbs and his drink water. "What! madam," said he, "would you have me to imitate a man who eats like a beast, and drinks like a fish?"


A poor woman, who had attended several confirmations,[Pg 2] was at length recognized by the bishop. "Pray, have I not seen you here before?" said his lordship. "Yes," replied the woman, "I get me conform'd as often as I can; they tell me it is good for the rheumatis."


Lord Chancellor Hardwick's bailiff, having been ordered by his lady to procure a sow of a particular description, came one day into the dining-room when full of company, proclaiming with a burst of joy he could not suppress, "I have been at Royston fair, my lady, and I have got a sow exactly of your ladyship's size."


The following lines were written on seeing a farrago of rhymes that had been scribbled with a diamond on the window of an inn:—

"Ye who on windows thus prolong your shames,
And to such arrant nonsense sign your names,
The diamond quit—with me the pencil take,
So shall your shame but short duration make;
For lo, the housemaid comes, in dreadful pet,
With red right hand, and with a dishclout wet,
Dashes out all, nor leaves a wreck to tell
Who 't was that wrote so ill!—and loved so well!"


A man of sagacity, being informed of a serious quarrel between two of his female relations, asked the persons if in their quarrels either had called the other ugly? On receiving an answer in the negative, "O, then, I shall soon make up the quarrel."


A Highlander, who sold brooms, went into a barber's shop in Glasgow to get shaved. The barber bought one of his brooms, and, after having shaved him, asked the price of it. "Tippence," said the Highlander. "No, no," says the shaver; "I'll give you a penny, and if that[Pg 3] does not satisfy you, take your broom again." The Highlander took it, and asked what he had to pay. "A penny," says Strap. "I'll gie ye a baubee," says Duncan, "and if that dinna satisfy ye, pit on my beard again."


A wealthy merchant of Fenchurch Street, lamenting to a confidential friend that his daughter had eloped with one of his footmen, concluded, by saying, "Yet I wish to forgive the girl, and receive her husband, as it is now too late to part them. But then his condition; how can I introduce him?"—"Nonsense," replied his companion; "introduce him as a Liveryman of the city of London. What is more honorable?"


Lady —— spoke to the butler to be saving of an excellent cask of small beer, and asked him how it might be best preserved. "I know no method so effectual, my lady," replied the butler, "as placing a barrel of good ale by it."


A stranger to law courts hearing a judge call a sergeant "brother," expressed his surprise. "Oh," said one present, "they are brothers—brothers-in-law."


It was the habit of Lord Eldon, when Attorney-General, to close his speeches with some remarks justifying his own character. At the trial of Horne Tooke, speaking of his own reputation, he said: "It is the little inheritance I have to leave my children, and, by God's help, I will leave it unimpaired." Here he shed tears; and, to the astonishment of those present, Mitford, the Solicitor-General, began to weep. "Just look at Mitford," said a by-stander to Horne Tooke; "what on earth is he crying for?" Tooke replied, "He is crying to think what a small inheritance Eldon's children are likely to get."[Pg 4]


Jerrold one day met a Scotch gentleman, whose name was Leitch, and who explained that he was not the popular caricaturist, John Leech. "I'm aware of that; you're the Scotchman with the i-t-c-h in your name," said Jerrold.


The government, having threatened to proceed rigorously against those who refused to pay the assessed taxes, offered to them a remission of one fourth. "This at least," said a sufferer, "may be called, giving them some quarter."


Lord North, who was very corpulent before a severe sickness, said to his physician after it, "Sir, I am obliged to you for introducing me to some old acquaintances."—"Who are they, my lord?"—"My ribs," replied his lordship, "which I have not felt for many years until now."


When Lord Sandwich was to present Admiral Campbell, he told him, that probably the king would knight him. The admiral did not much relish the honor. "Well, but," said Lord S., "perhaps Mrs. Campbell will like it."—"Then let the king knight her," answered the rough seaman.


Daniel Purcell, the famous punster, was desired to make a pun extempore. "Upon what subject?" said Daniel. "The king," answered the other. "O, sir," said he, "the king is no subject."


A notorious miser having heard a very eloquent charity sermon, exclaimed, "This sermon strongly proves the necessity of alms. I have almost a mind to turn beggar."[Pg 5]


Sheridan made his appearance one day in a pair of new boots; these attracting the notice of some of his friends, "Now guess," said he, "how I came by these boots?" Many probable guesses then took place. "No!" said Sheridan, "no, you've not hit it, nor ever will,—I bought them, and paid for them!"


In a large party, one evening, the conversation turned upon young men's allowance at college. Tom Sheridan lamented the ill-judging parsimony of many parents in that respect. "I am sure, Tom," said his father, "you need not complain; I always allowed you eight hundred a year."—"Yes, father, I must confess you allowed it; but then it was never paid."


Dr. Pitcairn had one Sunday stumbled into a Presbyterian church, probably to beguile a few idle moments (for few will accuse that gentleman of having been a warm admirer of Calvinism), and seeing the parson apparently overwhelmed by the importance of his subject: "What makes the man greet?" said Pitcairn to a fellow that stood near him. "By my faith, sir," answered the other, "you would perhaps greet, too, if you were in his place, and had as little to say."—"Come along with me, friend, and let's have a glass together; you are too good a fellow to be here," said Pitcairn, delighted with the man's repartee.


When a late Duchess of Bedford was last at Buxton, and then in her eighty-fifth year, it was the medical farce of the day for the faculty to resolve every complaint of whim and caprice into "a shock of the nervous system." Her grace, after inquiring of many of her friends in the rooms what brought them there, and being generally answered for a nervous complaint, was asked in her turn,[Pg 6] "What brought her to Buxton?"—"I came only for pleasure," answered the healthy duchess; "for, thank God, I was born before nerves came into fashion."


Sheridan was very desirous that his son Tom should marry a young woman of large fortune, but knew that Miss Callander had won his son's heart. Sheridan, expatiating on the folly of his son, at length exclaimed, "Tom, if you marry Caroline Callander, I'll cut you off with a shilling!" Tom could not resist the opportunity of replying, and looking archly at his father said, "Then, sir, you must borrow it." Sheridan was tickled at the wit, and dropped the subject.


George III. having purchased a horse, the dealer put into his hands a large sheet of paper, completely written over. "What's this?" said his majesty. "The pedigree of the horse, sire, which you have just bought," was the answer. "Take it back, take it back," said the king, laughing; "it will do very well for the next horse you sell."


Dr. Busby, whose figure was beneath the common size, was one day accosted in a public coffee-room by an Irish baronet of colossal stature, with, "May I pass to my seat, O Giant?" When the doctor, politely making way, replied, "Pass, O Pigmy!"—"O, sir," said the baronet, "my expression alluded to the size of your intellect."—"And my expression, sir," said the doctor, "to the size of yours."


A butcher of some eminence was lately in company with several ladies at a game of whist, where, having lost two or three rubbers, one of the ladies addressing him, asked, "Pray, sir, what are the stakes now?" To which, ever mindful of his occupation, he immediately replied, "Madam, the best rump I cannot sell lower than tenpence halfpenny a pound."[Pg 7]


Three gentlemen being in a coffee-house, one called for a dram, because he was hot. "Bring me another," says his companion, "because I am cold." The third, who sat by and heard them, very quietly called out, "Here, boy, bring me a glass, because I like it."


A person to whom the curiosities, buildings, &c., in Oxford were shown one very hot day, was asked by his companion if he would see the remainder of the University. "My dear sir," replied the connoisseur, "I am stone blind already."


A satiric poet underwent a severe drubbing, and was observed to walk ever afterwards with a stick. "Mr. P. reminds me," says a wag, "of some of the saints, who are always painted with the symbols of their martyrdom."


In a small party, the subject turning on matrimony, a lady said to her sister, "I wonder, my dear, you have never made a match; I think you want the brimstone";—she replied, "No, not the brimstone, only the spark."


A coachman, extolling the sagacity of one of his horses, observed, that "if anybody was to go for to use him ill, he would bear malice like a Christian."


Dr. A., physician at Newcastle, being summoned to a vestry, in order to reprimand the sexton for drunkenness, he dwelt so long on the sexton's misconduct, as to draw from him this expression: "Sir, I thought you would have been the last man alive to appear against me, as I have covered so many blunders of yours!"[Pg 8]


A rich man sent to call a physician for a slight disorder. The physician felt his pulse, and said, "Do you eat well?"—"Yes," said the patient. "Do you sleep well?"—"I do."—"Then," said the physician, "I shall give you something to take away all that!"


Sir George Etherege, having run up a score at Lockit's, absented himself from the ordinary. In consequence of this, Mrs. Lockit was sent to dun him and threaten him with an action. He told the messenger that he would certainly kiss her if she stirred a step in it! On this, the message being brought, she called for her hood and scarf, and told her husband, who interposed, "that she should see if there was any fellow alive that had the impudence!"—"Pr'ythee, my dear, don't be so rash," replied the good man; "you don't know what a man may do in a passion."


In a bookseller's catalogue lately appeared the following article: "Memoirs of Charles the First,—with, a head capitally executed."


A lunatic in Bedlam was asked how he came there? He answered, "By a dispute."—"What dispute?" The bedlamite replied, "The world said I was mad; I said the world was mad, and they outwitted me."


Some years ago, says Richardson, in his anecdotes of painting, a gentleman came to me to invite me to his house. "I have," says he, "a picture of Rubens, and it is a rare good one. Little H. the other day came to see it, and says it is a copy. If any one says so again, I'll break his head. Pray, Mr. Richardson, will you do me the favor to come, and give me your real opinion of it?"[Pg 9]


"How does your new-purchased horse answer?" said the late Duke of Cumberland to George Selwyn. "I really don't know," replied George, "for I never asked him a question."


A barrister entered the hall with his wig very much awry, of which he was not at all apprised, but was obliged to endure from almost every observer some remark on its appearance, till at last, addressing himself to Mr. Curran, he asked him, "Do you see anything ridiculous in this wig."—"Nothing but the head," was the answer.


A lady, after performing, with the most brilliant execution, a sonato on the pianoforte, in the presence of Dr. Johnson, turning to the philosopher, took the liberty of asking him if he was fond of music? "No, madam," replied the doctor; "but of all noises, I think music is the least disagreeable."


A young man met a rival who was somewhat advanced in years, and, wishing to annoy him, inquired how old he was? "I can't exactly tell," replied the other; "but I can inform you that an ass is older at twenty than a man at sixty!"


The following admonition was addressed by a Quaker to a man who was pouring forth a volley of ill language against him: "Have a care, friend, thou mayest run thy face against my fist."


A fellow boasting in company of his family, declared even his own father died in an exalted situation. Some[Pg 10] of the company looking incredulous, another observed, "I can bear testimony to the gentleman's veracity, as my father was sheriff for the county when his was hanged for horse-stealing."


When General V—— was quartered in a small town in Ireland, he and his lady were regularly besieged as they got into their carriage by an old beggar-woman, who kept her post at the door, assailing them daily with fresh importunities. One morning, as Mrs. V. stepped into the carriage, the woman began: "Oh, my lady! success to your ladyship, and success to your honor's honor: for sure I did not dream last night that her ladyship gave me a pound of tea, and your honor gave me a pound of tobacco."—"My good woman," said the general, "dreams go by the rule of contrary."—"Do they so?" rejoined the old woman; "then it must mean, that your honor will give me the tea, and her ladyship the tobacco."


Boswell, dining one day with Dr. Johnson, asked him if he did not think that a good cook was more essential to the community than a good poet. "I don't suppose," said the doctor, "that there's a dog in the town but what thinks so."


A gentleman at an inn, seeing that the lights were so dim as only to render the darkness visible, called out, "Here, waiter, let me have a couple of decent candles to see how these others burn."


A gentleman, at whose house Swift was dining in Ireland, after dinner introduced remarkably small hock-glasses, and at length turning to Swift addressed him: "Mr. Dean, I shall be happy to take a glass of hic, hæc, hoc, with you."—"Sir," rejoined the doctor, "I shall be happy to comply, but it must be out of a hujus glass."[Pg 11]


Dr. Robertson observed, that Johnson's jokes were the rebukes of the righteous, described in Scripture as being like excellent oil. "Yes," exclaimed Burke, "oil of vitriol!"


Foote being in company, and the wine producing more riot than concord, he observed one gentleman so far gone in debate as to throw the bottle at his antagonist's head; upon which, catching the missile in his hand, he restored the harmony of the company by observing, that "if the bottle was passed so quickly, not one of them would be able to stand out the evening."


Mr. Rogers was requested by Lady Holland to ask Sir Philip Francis whether he was the author of Junius. The poet approached the knight, "Will you, Sir Philip,—will your kindness excuse my addressing to you a single question?"—"At your peril, sir!" was the harsh and the laconic answer. The intimidated bard retreated to his friends, who eagerly asked him the result of his application. "I don't know," he answered, "whether he is Junius; but, if he be, he is certainly Junius Brutus."


A loving husband once waited on a physician to request him to prescribe for his wife's eyes, which were very sore. "Let her wash them," said the doctor, "every morning with a small glass of brandy." A few weeks after, the doctor chanced to meet the husband. "Well, my friend, has your wife followed my advice?"—"She has done everything in her power to do it, doctor"; said the spouse, "but she never could get the glass higher than her mouth."


Elwes, the noted miser, used to say, "If you keep one[Pg 12] servant, your work is done; if you keep two, it is half done; and if you keep three, you may do it yourself."


Admiral Lord Howe, when a captain, was once hastily awakened in the middle of the night by the lieutenant of the watch, who informed him with great agitation that the ship was on fire near the magazine. "If that be the case," said he, rising leisurely to put on his clothes, "we shall soon know it." The lieutenant flew back to the scene of danger, and almost instantly returning, exclaimed, "You need not, sir, be afraid, the fire is extinguished."—"Afraid!" exclaimed Howe, "what do you mean by that, sir? I never was afraid in my life"; and looking the lieutenant full in the face, he added, "Pray, how does a man feel, sir, when he is afraid? I need not ask how he looks."


John Horne Tooke's opinion upon the subject of law was admirable. "Law," he said, "ought to be, not a luxury for the rich, but a remedy, to be easily, cheaply, and speedily obtained by the poor." A person observed to him, how excellent are the English laws, because they are impartial, and our courts of justice are open to all persons without distinction. "And so," said Tooke, "is the London Tavern, to such as can afford to pay for their entertainment."


While Commodore Anson's ship, the Centurion, was engaged in close fight, with the rich Spanish galleon, which he afterwards took, a sailor came running to him, and cried out, "Sir, our ship is on fire very near the powder magazine."—"Then pray, friend," said the commodore, not in the least degree discomposed, "run back and assist in putting it out."


A cockney being out one day amusing himself with[Pg 13] shooting, happened to fire through a hedge, on the other side of which was a man standing. The shot passed through the man's hat, but missed the bird. "Did you fire at me, sir?" he hastily asked. "O! no, sir," said the shrewd sportsman, "I never hit what I fire at."


It is related of the great Dr. Clarke, that when in one of his leisure hours he was unbending himself with a few friends in the most playful and frolicsome manner, he observed Beau Nash approaching; upon which he suddenly stopped: "My boys," said he, "let us be grave: here comes a fool."


At one of the Holland-house Sunday dinner-parties, a year or two ago, Crockford's Club, then forming, was talked of; and the noble hostess observed, that the female passion for diamonds was surely less ruinous than the rage for play among men. "In short, you think," said Mr. Rogers, "that clubs are worse than diamonds." This joke excited a laugh; and when it had subsided, Sydney Smith wrote the following impromptu sermonet—most appropriately on a card:—

Thoughtless that "all that's brightest fades,"
Unmindful of that Knave of Spades,
The Sexton and his Subs:
How foolishly we play our parts!
Our wives on diamonds set their hearts,
We set our hearts on clubs!


A physician attending a lady several times, had received a couple of guineas each visit; at last, when he was going away, she gave him but one; at which he was surprised, and looking on the floor, "I believe, madam," said he, "I have dropt a guinea."—"No, sir," replied the lady, "it is I that have dropt it."[Pg 14]


A facetious fellow having unwittingly offended a conceited puppy, the latter told him he was no "gentleman."—"Are you a gentleman?" asked the droll one. "Yes, sir," bounced the fop. "Then, I am very glad I am not," replied the other.


Dr. Lloyd, Bishop of Worcester, so eminent for his prophecies, when by his solicitations and compliance at court he got removed from a poor Welsh bishopric to a rich English one, a reverend dean of the Church said, that he found his brother Lloyd spelt Prophet with an F.


Dr. Hickringal, who was one of King Charles the Second's chaplains, whenever he preached before his Majesty, was sure to tell him of his faults from the pulpit. One day his Majesty met the doctor in the Mall, and said to him, "Doctor, what have I done to you that you are always quarrelling with me?"—"I hope your Majesty is not angry with me," quoth the doctor, "for telling the truth."—"No, no," says the king, "but I would have us for the future be friends."—"Well, well," quoth the doctor, "I will make it up with your Majesty on these terms,—as you mend I'll mend."


A chimney-sweeper's boy went into a baker's shop for a twopenny loaf, and conceiving it to be diminutive in size, remarked to the baker that he did not believe it was weight. "Never mind that," said the man of dough, "you will have the less to carry."—"True," replied the lad, and throwing three half-pence on the counter left the shop. The baker called after him that he had not left money enough. "Never mind that," said young sooty, "you will have the less to count."[Pg 15]


Lord Kames used to relate a story of a man who claimed the honor of his acquaintance on rather singular grounds. His lordship, when one of the justiciary judges, returning from the north circuit to Perth, happened one night to sleep at Dunkeld. The next morning, walking towards the ferry, but apprehending he had missed his way, he asked a man whom he met to conduct him. The other answered with much cordiality: "That I will do, with all my heart, my lord; does not your lordship remember me? My name's John ——; I have had the honor to be before your lordship for stealing sheep?"—"Oh, John, I remember you well; and how is your wife? she had the honor to be before me, too, for receiving them, knowing them to be stolen."—"At your lordship's service. We were very lucky, we got off for want of evidence; and I am still going on in the butcher trade."—"Then," replied his lordship, "we may have the honor of meeting again."


It was with as much delicacy as satire that Porson returned, with the manuscript of a friend, the answer, "That it would be read when Homer and Virgil were forgotten, but not till then."


Scotland! thy weather's like a modish wife,
Thy winds and rains for ever are at strife;
So termagant awhile her thunder tries,
And when she can no longer scold, she cries.


An ancient sage uttered the following apothegm:—"The goodness of gold is tried by fire, the goodness of women by gold, and the goodness of men by the ordeal of women."[Pg 16]


Since my old friend is grown so great,
As to be minister of state,
I'm told (but 'tis not true I hope)
That Craggs will be ashamed of Pope.
Alas! if I am such a creature,
To grow the worse for growing greater,
Why, faith, in spite of all my brags,
'Tis Pope must be ashamed of Craggs.


The facetious Mr. Bearcroft told his friend Mr. Vansittart, "Your name is such a long one, I shall drop the sittart, and call you Van for the future."—"With all my heart," said he: "by the same rule, I shall drop croft, and call you Bear!"


Lie heavy on him, Earth! for he
Laid many heavy loads on thee!


When the Prince of Orange, afterwards William the Third, came over to this country, five of the seven bishops who were sent to the Tower declared for his highness; but the other two would not come into the measures. Upon which Dryden said, that "the seven golden candlesticks them proved prince's metal."


Through an avenue of trees, at the back of Trinity College, a church may be seen at a considerable distance, the approach to which affords no very pleasing scenery.[Pg 17] Porson, walking that way with a friend, and observing the church, remarked, "That it put him in mind of a fellowship, which was a long dreary walk, with a church at the end of it."


A man meeting his friend, said, "I spoke to you last night in a dream."—"Pardon me," replied the other, "I did not hear you."


"Pray, Mr. Abernethy, what is the cure for gout?" asked an indolent and luxurious citizen. "Live upon sixpence a day, and earn it!" was the pithy answer.


You say, without reward or fee,
Your uncle cur'd me of a dang'rous ill;
I say he never did prescribe for me,
The proof is plain,—I'm living still.


Several young gentlemen once got up a play at Cambridge. On the day of representation one of the performers took it into his head to make an excuse, and his part was obliged to be read. Hobhouse came forward to apologize to the audience, and told them that a Mr. —— had declined to perform his part. The gentleman was highly indignant at the "a," and had a great inclination to pick a quarrel with Scrope Davies, who replied that he supposed Mr. —— wanted to be called the Mr. So-and-so. He ever afterwards went by the name of the "Definite Article."


Rogers, when a certain M.P., in a review of his poems, said "he wrote very well for a banker," wrote, in return, the following:—

"They say he has no heart, and I deny it:
He has a heart, and—gets his speeches by it."
[Pg 18]


The present Lord Chancellor remarked of a young barrister who had just made a speech of more poetry than law, "Poor young man, he has studied the wrong Phillips."


"What's the matter?" inquired a passer-by, observing a crowd collected around a black fellow, whom an officer was attempting to secure, to put on board an outward-bound whale ship, from which he had deserted. "Matter! matter enough," exclaimed the delinquent, "pressing a poor negro to get oil."


A seedsman being lately held to bail for using inflammatory language respecting the Reform Bill, a wag observed, it was probably in the line of his profession—to promote business, he wished to sow sedition.


Counsellor Crips being on a party at Castle-Martyr, one of the company, a physician, strolled out before dinner into the churchyard. Dinner being served, and the doctor not returned, some one expressed his surprise where he could be gone to. "Oh," says the counsellor, "he is but just stept out to pay a visit to some of his old patients."


Dr. Johnson being asked his opinion of the title of a very small volume remarkable for its pomposity, replied, "That it was similar to placing an eight-and-forty pounder at the door of a pigsty."


As a man who, deeply involved in debt, was walking in the street with a very melancholy air, one of his acquaintance asked him why he was so sorrowful. "Alas!" said[Pg 19] he, "I am in a state of insolvency."—"Well," said his friend, "if that is the case, it is not you, but your creditors, who ought to wear a woful countenance."


During the short time that Lord Byron was in Parliament, a petition, setting forth the wretched condition of the Irish peasantry, was one evening presented, and very coldly received by the "hereditary legislative wisdom."—"Ah," said Lord Byron, "what a misfortune it was for the Irish that they were not born black! They would then have had plenty of friends in both houses."


"I live in Julia's eyes," said an affected dandy in Colman's hearing. "I don't wonder at it," replied George; "since I observed she had a sty in them when I saw her last."


As a worthy city baronet was gazing one evening at the gas lights in front of the Mansion-house, an old acquaintance came up to him and said, "Well, Sir William, are you studying astronomy?"—"No, sir," replied the alderman, "I am studying gas-tronomy."


A very volatile young lord, whose conquests in the female world were numberless, at last married. "Now, my lord," said the countess, "I hope you'll mend."—"Madam," says he, "you may depend on it this is my last folly."


When the Earl of Bradford was brought before the Lord Chancellor, to be examined upon application for a statute of lunacy against him, the chancellor asked him, "How many legs has a sheep?"—"Does your lordship mean," answered Lord Bradford, "a live sheep or a dead[Pg 20] sheep?"—"Is it not the same thing?" said the chancellor. "No, my lord," said Lord Bradford, "there is much difference; a live sheep may have four legs; a dead sheep has only two: the two fore legs are shoulders; but there are but two legs of mutton."


When George II. was once expressing his admiration of General Wolfe, some one observed that the General was mad. "Oh! he is mad, is he!" said the king, with great quickness, "then I wish he would bite some other of my generals."


Two old ladies, who were known to be of the same age, had the same desire to keep the real number concealed; one therefore used upon a New-year's-day to go to the other, and say, "Madam, I am come to know how old we are to be this year."


A prisoner being called on to plead to an indictment for larceny, was told by the clerk to hold up his right hand. The man immediately held up his left hand. "Hold up your right hand," said the clerk. "Please your honor," said the culprit, still keeping up his left hand, "I am left-handed."


Dr. Burney, who wrote the celebrated anagram on Lord Nelson, after his victory of the Nile, "Honor est a Nilo" (Horatio Nelson), was shortly after on a visit to his lordship, at his beautiful villa at Merton. From his usual absence of mind, he neglected to put a nightcap into his portmanteau, and consequently borrowed one from his lordship. Before retiring to rest, he sat down to study, as was his common practice, having first put on the cap, and was shortly after alarmed by finding it in flames; he[Pg 21] immediately collected the burnt remains, and returned them with the following lines:—

"Take your nightcap again, my good lord, I desire,
I would not retain it a minute;
What belongs to a Nelson, wherever there's fire,
Is sure to be instantly in it."


A person who had resided for some time on the coast of Africa was asked if he thought it possible to civilize the natives. "As a proof of the possibility of it," said he, "I have known some negroes that thought as little of a lie or an oath as any European."


A dyer, in a court of justice, being ordered to hold up his hand, that was all black; "Take off your glove, friend," said the judge to him. "Put on your spectacles, my lord," answered the dyer.


A gentleman having a servant with a very thick skull, used often to call him the king of fools. "I wish," said the fellow one day, "you could make your words good, I should then be the greatest monarch in the world."


A lawyer being sick, made his last will, and gave all his estate to fools and madmen: being asked the reason for so doing; "From such," said he, "I had it, and to such I give it again."


Two city ladies meeting at a visit, one a grocer's wife, and the other a cheesemonger's, when they had risen up and took their departure, the cheesemonger's wife was going out of the room first, upon which the grocer's lady, pulling her back by the tail of her gown, and stepping[Pg 22] before her, said, "No, madam, nothing comes after cheese."


Sir John Hamilton, who had severely suffered from the persecutions of the law, used to say, that an attorney was like a hedgehog, it was impossible to touch him anywhere without pricking one's fingers.


A gentleman who had an Irish servant, having stopped at an inn for several days, desired to have a bill, and found a large quantity of port placed to his servant's account, and questioned him about it. "Please your honor," cried Pat, "do read how many they charge me." The gentleman began, "One bottle port, one ditto, one ditto, one ditto,"—"Stop, stop, stop, master," exclaimed Paddy, "they are cheating you. I know I had some bottles of their port, but I did not taste a drop of their ditto."


An Irish counsellor having lost his cause, which had been tried before three judges, one of whom was esteemed a very able lawyer, and the other two but indifferent, some of the other barristers were very merry on the occasion. "Well, now," says he, "I have lost. But who could help it, when there were an hundred judges on the bench?—one and two ciphers."


An Irish clergyman having gone to visit the portraits of the Scottish kings in Holyrood House, observed one of the monarchs of a very youthful appearance, while his son was depicted with a long beard, and wore the traits of extreme old age. "Sancta Maria," exclaimed the good Hibernian, "is it possible that this gentleman was an old man when his father was born!!"


One day James the Second, in the middle of his courtiers,[Pg 23] made use of this assertion: "I never knew a modest man make his way at court." To this observation one of the gentlemen present boldly replied: "And, please your majesty, whose fault is that?" The king was struck, and remained silent.


One of the wooden mitres, carved by Grinly Gibbons over a prebend's stall in the cathedral church of Canterbury, happening to become loose, Jessy White, the surveyor of that edifice, inquired of the dean whether he should make it fast: "For, perhaps," said Jessy, "it may fall on your reverence's head."—"Well! Jessy," answered the humorous Cantab, "suppose it does fall on my head, I don't know that a mitre falling on my head would hurt it."


A person, disputing with Peter Pindar, said, in great heat, that he did not like to be thought a scoundrel. "I wish," replied Peter, "that you had as great a dislike to being a scoundrel."


There was much sound palpable argument in the speech of a country lad to an idler, who boasted his ancient family: "So much the worse for you," said the peasant; "as we ploughmen say, 'the older the seed the worse the crop.'"


Mr. Bethel, an Irish barrister, when the question of the Union was in debate, like all the junior barristers published pamphlets upon the subject. Mr. Lysaght met this pamphleteer in the hall of the Four Courts, and in a friendly way, said, "Zounds! Bethel, I wonder you never told me you had published a pamphlet on the Union. The one I saw contained some of the best things I have yet seen in any pamphlet upon the subject."—"I'm very[Pg 24] proud you think so," said the other, rubbing his hands with satisfaction; "and pray, what are the things that pleased you so much?"—"Why," replied Lysaght, "as I passed by a pastry-cook's shop this morning, I saw a girl come out with three hot mince-pies wrapped up in one of your works."


A right reverend prelate, himself a man of extreme good-nature, was frequently much vexed in the spirit by the proud, froward, perverse, and untractable temper of his next vicar. The latter, after an absence much longer than usual, one day paid a visit to the bishop, who kindly inquired the cause of his absence, and was answered by the vicar, that he had been confined to his house for some time past by an obstinate stiffness in his knee. "I am glad of that," replied the prelate; "'tis a good symptom that the disorder has changed place, for I had a long time thought it immovably settled in your neck."


A farm was lately advertised in a newspaper, in which all the beauty of the situation, fertility of the soil, and salubrity of the air were detailed in the richest flow of rural description, which was further enhanced with this,—N.B. There is not an attorney within fifteen miles of the neighborhood.


A painter in the Waterloo Road had the following announcement displayed on the front of his house: "The Acme of Stencil!" A "learned Theban" in the same line in an adjoining street, in order to outdo the "old original" stenciller, thus set forth his pretensions: "Stencilling in all its branches performed in the very height of acme!"


Collins the poet, coming into a town the day after a young lady, of whom he was fond, had left it, said, how unlucky he was that he had come a day after the fair.[Pg 25]


A certain lodging-house was very much infested by vermin. A gentleman who slept there one night, told the landlady so in the morning, when she said, "La, sir, we haven't a single bug in the house."—"No ma'am," said he, "they're all married, and have large families too."


A stupid person one day seeing a man of learning enjoying the pleasures of the table, said, "So, sir, philosophers, I see, can indulge in the greatest delicacies."—"Why not," replied the other, "do you think Providence intended all the good things for fools?"


A girl forced by her parents into a disagreeable match with an old man, whom she detested, when the clergyman came to that part of the service where the bride is asked if she consents to take the bridegroom for her husband, said, with great simplicity, "Oh dear, no, sir; but you are the first person who has asked my opinion about the matter."


It was said of a great calumniator, and a frequenter of other person's tables, that he never opened his mouth but at another man's expense.


When Jefferies was told that the Prince of Orange would very soon land, and that a manifesto, stating his inducements, objects, &c., was already written, "Pray, my Lord Chief Justice," said a gentleman present, "what do you think will be the heads of this manifesto?"—"Mine will be one," replied he.


A gentleman travelling, was accosted by a man walking along the road, who begged the favor of him to put[Pg 26] his great coat, which he found very heavy, into his carriage. "With all my heart," said the gentleman; "but if we should not be travelling to the same place, how will you get your coat?"—"Monsieur," answered the man with great naïveté, "I shall be in it."


Sir Thomas More, the famous Chancellor, who preserved his humor and wit to the last moment, when he came to be executed on Tower-hill, the headsman demanded his upper garment as his fee; "Ah! friend," said he, taking off his cap, "that, I think, is my upper garment."


A young lady marrying a man she loved, and leaving many friends in town, to retire with him into the country, Mrs. D. said prettily, "She has turned one-and-twenty shillings into a guinea."


Talk no more of the lucky escape of the head
From a flint so unluckily thrown;
I think very diff'rent, with thousands indeed,
'Twas a lucky escape for the stone.


When Mr. Wilkes was in the meridian of his popularity, a man in a porter-house, classing himself as an eminent literary character, was asked by one of his companions what right he had to assume such a title. "Sir," says he, "I'd have you know, I had the honor of chalking number 45 upon every door between Temple Bar and Hyde Park-corner."


An Englishman and a Welshman, disputing in whose country was the best living, said the Welshman, "There[Pg 27] is such noble housekeeping in Wales, that I have known above a dozen cooks employed at one wedding dinner."—"Ay," answered the Englishman, "that was because every man toasted his own cheese."


A fellow on the quay, thinking to quiz a poor Irishman, asked him, "How do the potatoes eat now, Pat?" The Irish lad, who happened to have a shillalah in his hand, answered, "O! they eat very well, my jewel, would you like to taste the stalk?" and knocking the inquirer down, coolly walked off.


In the great dispute between South and Sherlock, the latter, who was a great courtier, said, "His adversary reasoned well, but he barked like a cur." To which the other replied, "That fawning was the property of a cur as well as barking."


A learned counsel in the Exchequer spoke of a nolle prosēqui. "Consider, sir," said Baron Alderson, "that this is the last day of term, and don't make things unnecessarily long."


The sloth, in its wild state, spends its life in trees, and never leaves them but from force or accident. The eagle to the sky, the mole to the ground, the sloth to the tree; but what is most extraordinary, he lives not upon the branches, but under them. He moves suspended, rests suspended, sleeps suspended, and passes his life in suspense,—like a young clergyman distantly related to a bishop.


Soon after Professor Porson returned from a visit to the Continent, at a party where he happened to be present,[Pg 28] a gentleman solicited a sketch of his journey. Porson immediately gave the following extemporaneous one:

"I went to Frankfort and got drunk
With that most learned professor, Brunck;
I went to Worts and got more drunken
With that more learned professor, Ruhnken."


The late Lord Kelly had a very red face. "Pray, my lord," said Foote to him, "come and look over my garden-wall,—my cucumbers are very backward."


Man is a sort of tree which we are too apt to judge of by the bark.


A gentleman, with the same Christian and surname, took lodgings in the same house with James Smith. The consequence was, eternal confusion of calls and letters. Indeed, the postman had no alternative but to share the letters equally between the two. "This is intolerable, sir," said our friend, "and you must quit."—"Why am I to quit more than you?"—"Because you are James the Second—and must abdicate."


The advice given by an Irishman to his English friend, on introducing him to a regular Tipperary row, was, "Wherever you see a head, hit it."


Lady Hardwicke, the lady of the Chancellor, loved money as well as he did, and what he got she saved. The purse in which the Great Seal is carried is of very expensive embroidery, and was provided, during his time, every year. Lady Hardwicke took care that it should not be provided for the seal-bearer's profit, for she annually[Pg 29] retained them herself, having previously ordered that the velvet should be of the length of one of the state rooms at Wimpole. So many of them were saved, that at length she had enough to hang the state-room, and make curtains for the bed. Lord Hardwicke used to say, "There was not such a purser in the navy."


When Maurice Margarot was tried at Edinburgh for sedition, the Lord Justice asked him, "Hae you ony counsel, mon?"—"No."—"Do you want to hae ony appointed?"—"I only want an interpreter to make me understand what your lordships say."


Erskine, examining a bumptious fellow, asked him, if he were not a rider? "I'm a traveller, sir," replied the witness, with an air of offended importance. "Indeed, sir. And, pray, are you addicted to the failing usually attributed to travellers?"


A prisoner in The Fleet sent to his creditor to let him know that he had a proposal to make, which he believed would be for their mutual benefit. Accordingly, the creditor calling on him to hear it: "I have been thinking," said he, "that it is a very idle thing for me to lie here, and put you to the expense of seven groats a week. My being so chargeable to you has given me great uneasiness, and who knows what it may cost you in the end! Therefore, what I propose is this: You shall let me out of prison, and, instead of seven groats, you shall allow me only eighteenpence a week, and the other tenpence shall go towards the discharging of the debt."


(On the column to the Duke of York's memory.)

In former times the illustrious dead were burned,
Their hearts preserved in sepulchre inurned;
[Pg 30] This column, then, commemorates the part
Which custom makes us single out—the heart;
You ask, "How by a column this is done?"
I answer, "'Tis a hollow thing of stone."


A dependant was praising his patron for many virtues which he did not possess. "I will do all in my power to prevent you lying," answered he.


Jerrold and some friends were dining in a private room at a tavern. After dinner the landlord informed the company that the house was partly under repair, and requested that a stranger might be allowed to take a chop at a separate table in the apartment. The company assented, and the stranger, a person of commonplace appearance, was introduced, ate his chop in silence, and then fell asleep, snoring so loudly and inharmoniously that conversation was disturbed. Some gentlemen of the party made a noise, and the stranger, starting from his sleep, shouted to Jerrold, "I know you, Mr. Jerrold; but you shall not make a butt of me!"—"Then don't bring your hog's head in here," was the prompt reply.


A young author reading a tragedy, perceived his auditor very often pull off his hat at the end of a line, and asked him the reason. "I cannot pass a very old acquaintance," replied the critic, "without that civility."


A nobleman taking leave when going as ambassador, the king said to him, "The principal instruction you require is, to observe a line of conduct exactly the reverse to that of your predecessor."—"Sire," replied he, "I will endeavor so to act that you shall not have occasion to give my successor the like advice."[Pg 31]


The attempt to run over the King of the French with a cab, looked like a conspiracy to overturn monarchy by a common-wheel.


One speaking of the fire of London, said, "Cannon Street roared, Bread Street was burnt to a crust, Crooked Lane was burnt straight, Addle Hill staggered, Creed Lane would not believe it till it came, Distaff Lane had sprung a fine thread, Ironmonger Lane was redhot, Seacoal Lane was burnt to a cinder, Soper Lane was in the suds, the Poultry was too much singed, Thames Street was dried up, Wood Street was burnt to ashes, Shoe Lane was burnt to boot, Snow Hill was melted down, Pudding Lane and Pye Corner were over baked."


The speeches made by P—— are sound,
It cannot be denied;
Granted; and then it will be found,
They're little else beside.


A dealer once, selling a nag to a gentleman, frequently observed, with emphatic earnestness, that "he was an honest horse." After the purchase the gentleman asked him what he meant by an honest horse. "Why, sir," replied the seller, "whenever I rode him he always threatened to throw me, and he certainly never deceived me."


Bishops Sherlock and Hoadly were both freshmen of the same year, at Catherine Hall, Cambridge. The classical subject in which they were first lectured was Tully's Offices, and one morning Hoadly received a compliment from the tutor for the excellence of his construing. Sherlock, a little vexed at the preference shown to his rival,[Pg 32] said, when they left the lecture-room, "Ben, you made good use of L'Estrange's translation to-day."—"Why, no, Tom," retorted Hoadly, "I did not, for I had not got one; and I forgot to borrow yours, which, I am told, is the only one in the college."


Mr. Henry Erskine, being one day in London, in company with the Duchess of Gordon, said to her, "Are we never again to enjoy the honor and pleasure of your grace's society at Edinburgh?"—"O!" answered her grace, "Edinburgh is a vile dull place—I hate it."—"Madam," replied the gallant barrister, "the sun might as well say, there's a vile dark morning,—I won't rise to-day."


A pud in is almi de si re,
Mimis tres Ine ver require,
Alo veri find it a gestis,
His miseri ne ver at restis.


Mollis abuti,
Has an acuti,
No lasso finis,
Molli divinis.
O mi de armis tres,
Imi nadis tres,
Cantu disco ver
Meas alo ver?


When Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, gave a concert to the Consumption Hospital, the proceeds of which concert amounted to 1,776l. 15s., and were to be devoted to the completion of the building, Jerrold suggested that the new part of the hospital should be called "The Nightingale's Wing."[Pg 33]


Lord Orford was present in a large company at dinner, when Bruce, the celebrated traveller, was talking in his usual style of exaggeration. Some one asked him what musical instruments were used in Abyssinia. Bruce hesitated, not being prepared for the question, and at last said, "I think I saw a lyre there." George Selwyn, who was of the party, whispered his next man, "Yes, and there is one less since he left the country."


A person speaking of an acquaintance, who, though extremely avaricious, was always abusing the avarice of others, added, "Is it not strange that this man will not take the beam out of his own eye before he attempts the mote in other people's?"—"Why, so I daresay he would," cried Sheridan, "if he was sure of selling the timber."


A very small officer struck an old grenadier of his company for some supposed fault in performing his evolutions. The grenadier gravely took off his cap, and, holding it over the officer by the tip, said, "Sir, if you were not my officer, I would extinguish you."


A learned barrister, quoting Latin verses to a brother "wig," who did not appear to understand them, added, "Don't you know the lines? They are in Martial."—"Marshall. Oh, yes; Marshall, who wrote on underwriting."—"Not so bad," replied the other. "After all, there is not so much difference between an under writer and a minor poet."


A gentleman once appeared in the Court of King's Bench to give bail in the sum of 3,000l. Serjeant Davy, wanting to display his wit, said to him, sternly, "And pray, sir, how do you make out that you are worth[Pg 34] 3,000l.?" The gentleman stated the particulars of his property up to 2,940. "That's all very good," said the serjeant, "but you want 60l. more to be worth 3,000."—"For that sum," replied the gentleman, in no ways disconcerted, "I have a note of hand of one Mr. Serjeant Davy, and I hope he will have the honesty soon to settle it." The serjeant looked abashed, and Lord Mansfield observed, in his usual urbane tone, "Well, brother Davy, I think we may accept the bail."


Spranger Barry, to his silver-toned voice, added all the powers of persuasion. A carpenter, to whom he owed some money for work at the Dublin Theatre, called at Barry's house, and was very clamorous in demanding payment. Mr. Barry overhearing him, said from above, "Don't be in a passion; but do me the favor to walk upstairs, and we'll speak on the business."—"Not I," answered the man; "you owe me one hundred pounds already, and if you get me upstairs, you won't let me leave you till you owe me two."


"It is rumored that a certain Royal Duke has expressed a determination never to shave until the Reform Bill is crushed entirely."—Court Journal.

'Tis right that Cumberland should be
In this resolve so steady,
For all the world declare that he
Is too bare-faced already!


The following is a literal copy of a notice served by a worthy inhabitant of Gravesend upon his neighbor, whose fowl had eaten his pig's victuals.

"Sir,—I have sent to you as Coashon a gences Leting your fouls Coming Eting and destrowing My Pegs vettles and if so be you Let them Com on My Premses hafter this Noddes I will kil them.

"Rd. Gold."

[Pg 35]


John was thought to be very stupid. He was sent to a mill one day, and the miller said, "John, some people say you are a fool! Now, tell me what you do know, and what you don't know."—"Well," replied John, "I know millers' hogs are fat!"—"Yes, that's well, John! Now, what don't you know?"—"I don't know whose corn fats 'em!"


Sir Robert Walpole having misquoted a passage in Horace, Mr. Pulteney said the honorable gentleman's Latin was as bad as his politics. Sir Robert adhered to his version, and bet his opponent a guinea that he was right, proposing Mr. Harding as arbiter. The bet being accepted, Harding rose, and with ludicrous solemnity gave his decision against his patron. The guinea was thrown across the House; and when Pulteney stooped to pick it up, he observed, that "it was the first public money he had touched for a long time." After his death, the guinea was found wrapped up in a piece of paper on which the circumstance was recorded.


The ballot was, it seems, first proposed in 1795, by Major Cart-wright, who somewhat appropriately wrote a book upon the Common-Wheel.

CLX.—NOT versus NOTT.

A gentleman of Maudlin, whose name was Nott, returning late from his friend's rooms, attracted the attention of the proctor, who demanded his name and college. "I am Nott of Maudlin," was the reply, hiccupping. "Sir," said the proctor, in an angry tone, "I did not ask of what college you are not, but of what college you are."—"I am Nott of Maudlin," was again the broken reply. The proctor, enraged at what he considered contumely, insisted on accompanying him to Maudlin, and demanded of the porter, "whether he knew the gentleman."—"Know[Pg 36] him, sir," said the porter, "yes, it is Mr. Nott of this college." The proctor now perceived his error in not understanding the gentleman, and wished him a good night.


In Parliament, it's plain enough,
No reverence for age appears;
For they who hear each speaker's stuff,
Find there is no respect for (y) ears.


Lord Berkeley was once dining with Lord Chesterfield (the pink of politeness) and a large party, when it was usual to drink wine until they were mellow. Berkeley had by accident shot one of his gamekeepers, and Chesterfield, under the warmth of wine, said, "Pray, my Lord Berkeley, how long is it since you shot a gamekeeper?"—"Not since you hanged your tutor, my lord!" was the reply. You know that Lord Chesterfield brought Dr. Dodd to trial, in consequence of which he was hanged.


"I expect six clergymen to dine with me on such a day," said a gentleman to his butler. "Very good, sir," said the butler. "Are they High Church or Low Church, sir?"—"What on earth can that signify to you?" asked the astonished master. "Every thing, sir," was the reply. "If they are High Church, they'll drink; if they are Low Church, they'll eat!"


In making love let poor men sigh,
But love that's ready-made is better
For men of business;—so I,
If madam will be cruel, let her.
But should she wish that I should wait
And miss the 'Change,—oh no, I thank her,
I court by deed, or after date,
Through my solicitor or banker.
[Pg 37]


A soldier in the army of the Duke of Marlborough took the name of that general, who reprimanded him for it. "How am I to blame, general?" said the soldier. "I have the choice of names; if I had known one more illustrious than yours, I should have taken it."


When Lord Chesterfield was in administration, he proposed a person to his late majesty as proper to fill a place of great trust, but which the king himself was determined should be filled by another. The council, however, resolved not to indulge the king, for fear of a dangerous precedent, and it was Lord Chesterfield's business to present the grant of office for the king's signature. Not to incense his majesty by asking him abruptly, he, with accents of great humility, begged to know with whose name his majesty would be pleased to have the blanks filled up. "With the devil's!" replied the king, in a paroxysm of rage. "And shall the instrument," said the Earl, coolly, "run as usual, Our trusty and well-beloved cousin and counsellor?"—a repartee at which the king laughed heartily, and with great good-humor signed the grant.


When a very eminent special pleader was asked by a country gentleman if he considered that his son was likely to succeed as a special pleader, he replied, "Pray, sir, can your son eat saw-dust without butter?"


Ask you why gold and velvet bind
The temples of that cringing thief?
Is it so strange a thing to find
A toad beneath a strawberry leaf?


On the occasion of starting a convivial club, somebody proposed that it should consist of twelve members, and be[Pg 38] called "The Zodiac," each member to be named after a sign.

"And what shall I be?" inquired a somewhat solemn man, who was afraid that his name would be forgotten.

Jerrold.—"Oh, we'll bring you in as the weight in Libra."


"A plague on Egypt's arts, I say—
Embalm the dead—on senseless clay
Rich wine and spices waste:
Like sturgeon, or like brawn, shall I,
Bound in a precious pickle lie,
Which I can never taste!
Let me embalm this flesh of mine,
With turtle fat, and Bourdeaux wine,
And spoil the Egyptian trade,
Than Glo'ster's Duke, more happy I,
Embalm'd alive, old Quin shall lie
A mummy ready made."


It being reported that Lady Caroline Lamb had, in a moment of passion, knocked down one of her pages with a stool, the poet Moore, to whom this was told by Lord Strangford, observed: "Oh! nothing is more natural for a literary lady than to double down a page."—"I would rather," replied his lordship, "advise Caroline to turn over a new leaf."


E—— taking the portrait of a lady, perceived that when he was working at her mouth she was trying to render it smaller by contracting her lips. "Do not trouble yourself so much, madam," exclaimed the painter; "if you please, I will draw your face without any mouth at all."


During the long French war, two old ladies in Stranraer[Pg 39] were going to the kirk, the one said to the other, "Was it no a wonderfu' thing that the Breetish were aye victorious ower the French in battle?"—"Not a bit," said the other old lady, "dinna ye ken the Breetish aye say their prayers before ga'in into battle?" The other replied, "But canna the French say their prayers as weel?" The reply was most characteristic, "Hoot! jabbering bodies, wha could understan' them?"


Whilst the celebrated Mr. Dunning, afterwards Lord Ashburton, was at the bar, he by his conduct did much to support the character and dignity of a barrister, which was frequently disregarded by Lord Mansfield, at that time Chief Justice. The attempts of the Chief Justice to brow-beat the counsel were on many occasions kept in check by the manly and dignified conduct of Mr. Dunning. Lord Mansfield possessed great quickness in discovering the gist of a cause, and having done so, used to amuse himself by taking up a book or a newspaper, whilst counsel was addressing the court. Whenever Mr. Dunning was speaking, and his Lordship seemed thus to hold his argument as of no consequence, the advocate would stop suddenly in his address, and on his Lordship observing, "Pray go on, Mr. Dunning," he would reply, "I beg your pardon, my Lord, but I fear I shall interrupt your Lordship's more important occupations. I will wait until your Lordship has leisure to attend to my client and his humble advocate."


(A good word for Ministers.)

The Whigs 'tis said have often broke
Their promises which end in smoke;
Thus their defence I build;
Granted in office they have slept,
Yet sure those promises are kept
Which never are fulfilled.


A gentleman, inquiring of Jack Bannister respecting a[Pg 40] man who had been hanged, was told that he was dead. "And did he continue in the grocery line?" said the former. "Oh no," replied Jack; "he was quite in a different line when he died."


At an evening party, Jerrold was looking at the dancers. Seeing a very tall gentleman waltzing with a remarkably short lady, he said to a friend at hand, "Humph! there's the mile dancing with the mile-stone."


Sir William B—— being at a parish meeting, made some proposals, which were objected to by a farmer. Highly enraged, "Sir," says he to the farmer, "do you know, sir, that I have been at the two universities, and at two colleges in each university?"—"Well, sir," said the farmer, "what of that? I had a calf that sucked two cows, and the observation I made was, the more he sucked, the greater calf he grew."


It was said of one that remembered everything that he lent, but nothing that he borrowed, "that he had lost half of his memory."


When the late Lord Campbell married Miss Scarlett, and departed on his wedding trip, Mr. Justice Abbott observed, when a cause was called on in the Bench, "I thought, Mr. Brougham, that Mr. Campbell was in this case?"—"Yes, my lord," replied Brougham, "but I understand he is ill—suffering from Scarlett fever."


The copiousness of the English language perhaps was never more apparent than in the following character, by a lady, of her own husband:—

"He is," says she, "an abhorred, barbarous, capricious,[Pg 41] detestable, envious, fastidious, hard-hearted, illiberal, ill-natured, jealous, keen, loathsome, malevolent, nauseous, obstinate, passionate, quarrelsome, raging, saucy, tantalizing, uncomfortable, vexatious, abominable, bitter, captious, disagreeable, execrable, fierce, grating, gross, hasty, malicious, nefarious, obstreperous, peevish, restless, savage, tart, unpleasant, violent, waspish, worrying, acrimonious, blustering, careless, discontented, fretful, growling, hateful, inattentive, malignant, noisy, odious, perverse, rigid, severe, teasing, unsuitable, angry, boisterous, choleric, disgusting, gruff, hectoring, incorrigible, mischievous, negligent, offensive, pettish, roaring, sharp, sluggish, snapping, snarling, sneaking, sour, testy, tiresome, tormenting, touchy, arrogant, austere, awkward, boorish, brawling, brutal, bullying, churlish, clamorous, crabbed, cross, currish, dismal, dull, dry, drowsy, grumbling, horrid, huffish, insolent, intractable, irascible, ireful, morose, murmuring, opinionated, oppressive, outrageous, overbearing, petulant, plaguy, rough, rude, rugged, spiteful, splenetic, stern, stubborn, stupid, sulky, sullen, surly, suspicious, treacherous, troublesome, turbulent, tyrannical, virulent, wrangling, yelping dog-in-a-manger."


A medical student under examination, being asked the different effects of heat and cold, replied: "Heat expands and cold contracts."—"Quite right; can you give me an example?"—"Yes, sir, in summer, which is hot, the days are longer; but in winter, which is cold, the days are shorter."


Happiness grows at our own firesides, and is not to be picked in strangers' gardens.


It was said of a work (which had been inspected by a severe critic), in terms which at first appeared very flattering, "There is a great deal in this book which is new, and a great deal that is true." So far good, the author would[Pg 42] think; but then came the negation: "But it unfortunately happens, that those portions which are new are not true, and those which are true are not new!"


A gentleman waited upon Jerrold one morning to enlist his sympathies in behalf of a mutual friend, who was constantly in want of a round sum of money.

"Well," said Jerrold, who had contributed on former occasions, "how much does —— want this time?"

"Why, just a four and two noughts will, I think, put him straight," the bearer of the hat replied.

Jerrold.—"Well, put me down for one of the noughts this time."


An old man of ninety having recovered from a very dangerous illness, his friends congratulated him, and encouraged him to get up. "Alas!" said he to them, "it is hardly worth while to dress myself again."


At Hawick, the people used to wear wooden clogs, which made a clanking noise on the pavement. A dying old woman had some friends by her bedside, who said to her, "Weel, Jenny, ye are gaun to Heeven, an' gin you should see our folks, ye can tell them that we're a weel." To which Jenny replied. "Weel, gin I shud see them I 'se tell them, but you manna expect that I am to gang clank clanking through Heeven looking for your folk."


Sir Fletcher Norton was noted for his want of courtesy. When pleading before Lord Mansfield on some question of manorial right, he chanced unfortunately to say, "My lord, I can illustrate the point in an instant in my own person: I myself have two little manors." The judge immediately interposed, with one of his blandest smiles, "We all know it, Sir Fletcher."[Pg 43]


The author of "Alexander the Great," whilst confined in a madhouse, was visited by Sir Roger L'Estrange, of whose political abilities Lee entertained no very high opinion. Upon the knight inquiring whether the poet knew him, Lee answered:—

"Custom may alter men, and manners change:
But I am still strange Lee, and you L'Estrange:
I'm poor in purse as you are poor in brains."


Women are all alike. When they're maids they're mild as milk: once make 'em wives, and they lean their backs against their marriage certificates, and defy you.—D.J.


Liston, seeing a parcel lying on the table in the entrance-hall of Drury Lane Theatre, one side of which, from its having travelled to town by the side of some game, was smeared with blood, observed, "That parcel contains a manuscript tragedy." And on being asked why, replied, "Because the fifth act is peeping out at one corner of it."


One day, when Sir Isaac Heard was in company with George III., it was announced that his majesty's horse was ready for hunting. "Sir Isaac," said the king, "are you a judge of horses?"—"In my younger days, please your majesty, I was a great deal among them," was the reply. "What do you think of this, then?" said the king, who was by this time preparing to mount his favorite: and, without waiting for an answer, added, "we call him. Perfection."—"A most appropriate name," replied the courtly herald, bowing as his majesty reached the saddle, "for he bears the best of characters."


The paucity of some persons' good actions reminds one[Pg 44] of Jonathan Wild, who was once induced to be guilty of a good action, after fully satisfying himself, upon the maturest deliberation, that he could gain nothing by refraining from it.


A coxcomb in a coffee-house boasted that he had written a certain popular song, just as the true author entered the room. A friend of his pointed to the coxcomb: "See, sir, the real author of your favorite song."—"Well," replied the other, "the gentleman might have made it, for I assure him I found no difficulty in doing it myself."


Lord Cockburn, the proprietor of Bonaly, was sitting on the hillside with a shepherd, and, observing the sheep reposing in the coldest situation, he remarked to him, "John, if I were a sheep, I would lie on the other side of the hill." The shepherd answered, "Ah, my lord, but if ye had been a sheep ye would hae had mair sense."


Sir Richard Jebb being called to see a patient who fancied himself very ill, told him ingenuously what he thought, and declined prescribing for him. "Now you are here," said the patient, "I shall be obliged to you, Sir Richard, if you will tell me how I must live; what I may eat, and what I may not."—"My directions as to that point," replied Sir Richard, "will be few and simple! You must not eat the poker, shovel, or tongs, for they are hard of digestion; nor the bellows, because they are windy; but eat anything else you please!"


An opulent farmer applied to an attorney about a lawsuit, but was told he could not undertake it, being already engaged on the other side; at the same time he gave him a letter of recommendation to a professional friend. The farmer, out of curiosity, opened it, and read as follows:[Pg 45]

"Here are two fat wethers fallen out together,
If you'll fleece one, I'll fleece the other,
And make 'em agree like brother and brother."

The perusal of this epistle cured both parties, and terminated the dispute.


"My notion of a wife at forty," said Jerrold, "is, that a man should be able to change her, like a bank-note, for two twenties."


An actor played a season at Richmond theatre for the privilege only of having a benefit. When his night came, and having to sustain a principal part in the piece, the whole of his audience (thirty in number), hissed him whenever he appeared. When the piece ended, he came forward and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I return you my sincere thanks for your kindness, but when you mean to hiss me again on my benefit night, I hope you will be at least six times as many as are here to-night."


Cooke and Dibdin went, at a tolerably steady quick-step, as far as the middle of Greek Street, when Cooke, who had passed his hand along all the palisades and shutters as he marched, came in contact with the recently-painted new front of a coachmaker's shop, from which he obtained a complete handful of wet color. Without any explanation as to the cause of his anger, he rushed suddenly into the middle of the street, and raised a stone to hurl against the unoffending windows; but Dibdin was in time to save them from destruction, and him from the watch-house. On being asked the cause of his hostility to the premises of a man who could not have offended him, he replied, with a hiccup, "what! not offend? A —— ignorant coachmaker, to leave his house out, new-painted, at this time of night!"[Pg 46]


A browbeating counsel asked a witness how far he had been from a certain place. "Just four yards, two feet, and six inches," was the reply. "How came you to be so exact, my friend?"—"Because I expected some fool or other would ask me, and so I measured it."


"What is light?" asked a schoolmaster of the booby of a class. "A sovereign that isn't full weight is light," was the prompt reply.


"Ah!" said a conceited young parson, "I have this afternoon been preaching to a congregation of asses."—"Then that was the reason why you always called them beloved brethren," replied a strong-minded lady.


By a friend of Sir Turncoat 'twas lately averr'd,
The electors would find him as good as his word!
"As good as his word," did you say, "gracious me!
What a terrible scamp little Turncoat must be!"


It has been said that a lady once asked Lord B—g—m who was the best debater in the House of Lords. His lordship modestly replied, "Lord Stanley is the second, madam."


A stupid fellow employed in blowing a cathedral organ, said after the performance of a fine anthem, "I think we performed very well to-day."—"We performed!" answered the organist; "I think it was I performed, or I am much mistaken." Shortly after another celebrated piece of music was to be played. In the middle of the anthem the organ stopped; the organist cried out in a passion, "Why don't you blow?" The fellow[Pg 47] popped out his head from behind the organ, and said, "Shall it be we then?"


An editor at a dinner-table being asked if he would take some pudding, replied, in a fit of abstraction, "Owing to a crowd of other matter, we are unable to find room for it."


A rich peer resolved to make his will; and having remembered all his domestics except his steward, the omission was respectfully pointed out to him by the lawyer. "I shall leave him nothing," said the nobleman, "because he has served me these twenty years."


By imbecility and fears
Will is restrain'd from doing ill;
His mind a porcupine appears,
A porcupine without a quill.


After witnessing the first representation of a dog-piece by Reynolds, called the "Caravan," Sheridan suddenly came into the green-room, on purpose, it was imagined, to wish the author joy. "Where is he?" was the first question: "where is my guardian angel?"—"Here I am," answered Reynolds. "Pooh!" replied Sheridan, "I don't mean you, I mean the dog."


The Bristol magistrates were at the time of the great riots scattered through the town. They argued that under the circumstances it was impossible they could have been collected.


This gentleman, travelling in a stage-coach, was interrupted[Pg 48] by the frequent impertinence of a companion, who was constantly teazing him with questions and asking him how he did. "How are you now, sir?" said the impertinent. George, in order to get rid of his importunity, replied, "Very well; and I intend to continue so all the rest of the journey."


Sir G. Staunton related a curious anecdote of old Kien Long, Emperor of China. He was inquiring of Sir George the manner in which physicians were paid in England. When, after some difficulty, his majesty was made to comprehend the system, he exclaimed, "Is any man well in England, that can afford to be ill? Now, I will inform you," said he, "how I manage my physicians. I have four, to whom the care of my health is committed: a certain weekly salary is allowed them, but the moment I am ill, the salary stops till I am well again. I need not inform you my illnesses are usually short."


Says his landlord to Thomas, "Your rent I must raise,
I'm so plaguily pinch'd for the pelf."
"Raise my rent!" replies Thomas; "your honor's main good;
For I never can raise it myself."


Jerrold had a favorite dog that followed him everywhere. One day in the country, a lady who was passing turned round and said, audibly, "What an ugly little brute!" whereupon Jerrold, addressing the lady, replied, "Oh, madam! I wonder what he thinks about us at this moment!"


Mathews being invited by D'Egville to dine one day with him at Brighton, D'Egville inquired what was Mathews's favorite dish? A roasted leg of pork, with sage and onions. This was provided; and D'Egville, carving,[Pg 49] could not find the stuffing. He turned the joint about, but in vain. Poole was at table, and, in his quiet way, said, "Don't make yourself unhappy, D'Egville; perhaps it is in the other leg."


It was customary in some parish churches for the men to be placed on one side, and the women on the other. A clergyman, in the midst of his sermon, found himself interrupted by the talking of some of the congregation, of which he was obliged to take notice. A woman immediately rose, and wishing to clear her own sex from the aspersion, said: "Observe, at least, your reverence, it is not on our side."—"So much the better, good woman, so much the better," answered the clergyman; "it will be the sooner over."


The usual place of resort for Dublin duellists was called the Fifteen Acres. An attorney of that city, in penning a challenge, thought most likely he was drawing a lease, and invited his antagonist to meet him at "the place called Fifteen Acres—'be the same more or less.'"


"Do you know what made my voice so melodious?" said a celebrated vocal performer, of awkward manners, to Charles Bannister. "No," replied the other. "Why, then, I'll tell you: when I was about fifteen, I swallowed, by accident, some train oil."—"I don't think," rejoined Bannister, "it would have done you any harm if, at the same time, you had swallowed a dancing-master!"


Jacob Johnson, the publisher, having refused to advance Dryden a sum of money for a work upon which he was engaged, the incensed bard sent a message to him, and the following lines, adding, "Tell the dog that he who wrote these can write more":[Pg 50]

"With leering looks, bull-necked, and freckled face,
With two left legs, and Judas-colored hair,
And frowsy pores, that taint the ambient air!"

Johnson felt the force of the description; and, to avoid, a completion of the portrait, immediately sent the money.


Jerrold was in France, and with a Frenchman who was enthusiastic on the subject of the Anglo-French alliance. He said that he was proud to see the English and French such good friends at last. "Tut! the best thing I know between France and England is—the sea," said Jerrold.


On the 30th of January (the martyrdom of King Charles the First), Quin used to say, "Every king in Europe would rise with a crick in his neck."


A certain minister going to visit one of his sick parishioners, asked him how he had rested during the night. "Oh, wondrous ill, sir," replied he, "for mine eyes have not come together these three nights."—"What is the reason of that?" said the other. "Alas! sir," said he, "because my nose was betwixt them."


When Mr. Sheridan pleaded in court his own cause, and that of the Drury Lane Theatre, an Irish laborer, known amongst the actors by the name of Billy Brown, was called upon to give his evidence. Previous to his going into court, the counsellor, shocked at the shabby dress of the witness, began to remonstrate with him on this point: "You should have put on your Sunday clothes, and not think of coming into court covered with lime and brick-dust; it detracts from the credit of your evidence."—"Be cool, Mr. Counsellor," said Billy, "only be cool, you're in your working-dress, and I am in mine; and that's that."[Pg 51]


A drunken witness leaving the box, blurted out, "My Lord, I never cared for anything but women and horseflesh!" Mr. Justice Maule: "Oh, you never cared for anything but women and horseflesh? Then I advise you to go home and make your will, or, if you have made it, put a codicil to it, and direct your executors, as soon as you are dead, to have you flayed, and to have your skin made into side-saddles, and then, whatever happens, you will have the satisfaction of reflecting that, after death, some part of you will be constantly in contact with what, in life, were the dearest objects of your affections."


A gentleman who was on a tour, attended by an Irish servant-man, who drove the vehicle, was several times puzzled with the appearance of a charge in the man's daily account, entered as "Refreshment for the horse, 2d." At length he asked Dennis about it. "Och! sure," said he, "it's whipcord it is!"


A remarkably ugly and disagreeable man sat opposite Jerrold at a dinner-party. Before the cloth was removed, Jerrold accidentally broke a glass. Whereupon the ugly gentleman, thinking to twit his opposite neighbor with great effect, said slily, "What, already, Jerrold! Now I never break a glass."—"I wonder at that," was Jerrold's instant reply, "you ought whenever you look in one."


A kind-hearted, but somewhat weak-headed, parishioner in the far north got into the pulpit of the parish church one Sunday before the minister, who happened on that day to be rather behind time. "Come down, Jamie," said the minister, "that's my place."—"Come ye up, sir," replied Jamie; "they are a stiff-necked and rebellious generation the people o' this place, and it will take us baith to manage them."[Pg 52]


The late Mr. Pétion, who was sent over into this country to acquire a knowledge of our criminal law, is said to have declared himself thoroughly informed upon the subject, after remaining precisely two-and-thirty minutes in the Old Bailey.


An attorney being informed by his cook that there was not dinner enough provided, upon one occasion when company were expected, he asked if she had brothed the clerks. She replied that she had done so. "Well then," said he, "broth 'em again."


Bubb Doddington was very lethargic. Falling asleep one day, after dinner with Sir Richard Temple and Lord Cobham, the latter reproached Doddington with his drowsiness. Doddington denied having been asleep; and to prove he had not, offered to repeat all Lord Cobham had been saying. Cobham challenged him to do so. Doddington repeated a story; and Lord Cobham owned he had been telling it. "Well," said Doddington, "and yet I did not hear a word of it; but I went to sleep, because I knew that about this time of day you would tell that story."


A critic one day talked to Jerrold about the humor of a celebrated novelist, dramatist, and poet, who was certainly no humorist.

"Humor!" exclaimed Jerrold, "why he sweats at a joke, like a Titan at a thunderbolt!"


Some one was praising our public schools to Charles Landseer, and said, "All our best men were public school men. Look at our poets. There's Byron, he was a Harrow boy—"—"Yes," interrupted Charles, "and there's Burns,—he was a ploughboy."[Pg 53]


"Did any of you ever see an elephant's skin?" asked the master of an infant school in a fast neighborhood.—"I have!" shouted a six-year-old at the foot of the class. "Where?" inquired old spectacles, amused by his earnestness. "On the elephant!" was the reply.


An illiterate person, who always volunteered to "go round with the hat," but was suspected of sparing his own pocket, overhearing once a hint to that effect, replied, "Other gentlemen puts down what they thinks proper, and so do I. Charity's a private concern, and what I give is nothing to nobody."


At a duel the parties discharged their pistols without effect, whereupon one of the seconds interfered, and proposed that the combatants should shake hands. To this the other second objected, as unnecessary,—"For," said he, "their hands have been shaking this half-hour."


Milton was asked by a friend whether he would instruct his daughters in the different languages: to which he replied, "No, sir; one tongue is sufficient for a woman."


(On bank notes being made a legal tender.)

The privilege hard money to demand,
It seems but fair the public should surrender;
For I confess I ne'er could understand
Why cash called hard, should be a legal tender.


"That's a pretty bird, grandma," said a little boy. "Yes," replied the old dame, "and he never cries."—"That's because he's never washed," rejoined the youngster.[Pg 54]


If Farren, cleverest of men,
Should go to the right about,
What part of town will he be then?
Why, "Farren-done-without!"


"The sun is all very well," said an Irishman, "but the moon is worth two of it; for the moon affords us light in the night-time, when we want it, whereas the sun's with us in the day-time, when we have no occasion for it."


Beware of falling in love with a pair of moustaches, till you have ascertained whether their wearer is the original proprietor.


When Sir Richard Steele was made a member of the Commons, it was expected from his writings that he would have been an admirable orator; but not proving so, De Foe said, "He had better have continued the Spectator than the Tatler."


At the time of the threatened invasion, the laird of Logan had been taunted at a meeting at Ayr with want of a loyal spirit at Cumnock, as at that place no volunteer corps had been raised to meet the coming danger; Cumnock, it should be recollected, being on a high situation, and ten or twelve miles from the coast. "What sort of people are you, up at Cumnock?" said an Ayr gentleman; "you have not a single volunteer!"—"Never you heed," says Logan, very quietly; "if the French land at Ayr, there will soon be plenty of volunteers up at Cumnock."


Lord Erskine and Dr. Parr, who were both remarkably[Pg 55] conceited, were in the habit of conversing together, and complimenting each other on their respective abilities. On one of these occasions, Parr promised that he would write Erskine's epitaph; to which the other replied, that "such an intention on the doctor's part was almost a temptation to commit suicide."


The other day, a certain bishop lost his portmanteau. The circumstance has given rise to the following:—

I have lost my portmanteau—
"I pity your grief;"
It contained all my sermons—
"I pity the thief."


S——'s head appears to be placed in most accurate conformity with the law of nature, in obedience to which that which is most empty is generally uppermost.


Sir William Chere had a very long nose, and was playing at backgammon with old General Brown. During this time, Sir William, who was a snuff-taker, was continually using his snuff-box. Observing him leaning continually over the table, and being at the same time in a very bad humor with the game, the general said, "Sir William, blow your nose!"—"Blow it yourself!" said Sir William; "'tis as near you as me!"


Macklin one night sitting at the back of the front boxes, with a gentleman of his acquaintance, an underbred lounger stood up immediately before him, and covered the sight of the stage entirely from him. Macklin patted him gently on the shoulder with his cane, and, with much seeming civility, requested "that when he saw or heard anything that was entertaining on the stage, to let him and the gentleman with him know of it, as at present we must[Pg 56] totally depend on your kindness." This had the desired effect,—and the lounger walked off.


A certain anti-illuminating marquis, since the memorable night of the passing of the Reform Bill, has constantly kept open house, at least, so we are informed by a person who lately looked in at his windows.


Lord Braxfield (a Scotch judge) once said to an eloquent culprit at the bar, "You're a vera clever chiel, mon, but I'm thinking ye wad be nane the waur o' a hanging."


Mr. Justice P——, a well-meaning but particularly prosing judge, on one of his country circuits had to try a man for stealing a quantity of copper. In his charge he had frequent occasion to mention the "copper," which he uniformly called "lead," adding, "I beg your pardon, gentlemen,—copper; but I can't get the lead out of my head!" At this candid confession the whole court shouted with laughter.


Sir Thomas Overbury says, that the man who has not anything to boast of but his illustrious ancestors, is like a potato,—the only good belonging to him is underground.


On one occasion Lord Alvanley had promised a person 100l. as a bribe, to conceal something which would have involved the reputation of a lady. On that person's application for the money, his lordship wrote a check for 25l. and presented it to him. "But, my lord, you promised me 100l."—"True," said his lordship, "I did so; but you know, Mr. ——, that I am now making arrangements with all my creditors at 5s. in the pound. Now you must[Pg 57] see, Mr. ——, that if I were to pay you at a higher rate than I pay them, I should be doing my creditors an injustice!"


Sir William Curtis sat near a gentleman at a civic dinner, who alluded to the excellence of the knives, adding, that "articles manufactured from cast steel were of a very superior quality, such as razors, forks, &c."—"Ay," replied the facetious baronet, "and soap too—there's no soap like Castile soap."


When Brummell was the great oracle on coats, the Duke of Leinster was very anxious to bespeak the approbation of the "Emperor of the Dandies" for a "cut" which he had just patronized. The Duke, in the course of his eulogy on his Schneider, had frequent occasion to use the words "my coat."—"Your coat, my dear fellow," said Brummell: "what coat?"—"Why, this coat," said Leinster; "this coat that I have on." Brummell, after regarding the vestment with an air of infinite scorn, walked up to the Duke, and taking the collar between his finger and thumb, as if fearful of contamination,—"What, Duke, do you call that thing a coat?"


One of Sir Boyle Roche's children asked him one day, "Who was the father of George III.?"—"My darling," he answered, "it was Frederick, Prince of Wales, who would have been George III. if he had lived."


A very worthy, though not particularly erudite, under-writer at Lloyd's was conversing one day with a friend on the subject of a ship they had mutually insured. His friend observed, "Do you know that I suspect our ship is in jeopardy?"—"Well, I am glad that she has got into some port at last," replied the other.[Pg 58]


When Brennan, the noted highwayman, was taken in the south of Ireland, a banker, whose notes at that time were not held in the highest estimation, assured the prisoner that he was very glad to see him there at last. Brennan, looking up, replied, "Ah! sir! I did not expect that from you: for you know that, when all the country refused your notes, I took them."


George IV., on hearing some one declare that Moore had murdered Sheridan, in his late life of that statesman, observed, "I won't say that Mr. Moore has murdered Sheridan, but he has certainly attempted his life."


After a long drought, there fell a torrent of rain; and a country gentleman observed to Sir John Hamilton, "This is a most delightful rain; I hope it will bring up everything out of the ground."—"By Jove, sir," said Sir John, "I hope not; for I have sowed three wives in it, and I should be very sorry to see them come up again."


Daniel Purcell, who was a non-juror, was telling a friend, when King George the First landed at Greenwich, that he had a full view of him: "Then," said his friend, "you know him by sight."—"Yes," replied Daniel, "I think I know him, but I can't swear to him."


A worthy alderman, captain of a volunteer corps, was ordering his company to fall back, in order to dress with the line, and gave the word, "Advance three paces back-wards! march!"


An officer in full regimentals, apprehensive lest he[Pg 59] should come in contact with a chimney-sweep that was pressing towards him, exclaimed, "Keep off, you black rascal."—"You were as black as me before you were boiled," cried sooty.


A lawyer, upon a circuit in Ireland, who was pleading the cause of an infant plaintiff, took the child up in his arms, and presented it to the jury, suffused with tears. This had a great effect, until the opposite lawyer asked the child, "What made him cry?"—"He pinched me!" answered the little innocent. The whole court was convulsed with laughter.


An Irish gardener seeing a boy stealing some fruit, swore, if he caught him there again, he'd lock him up in the ice-house and warm his jacket.


An Irish gentleman was relating in company that he saw a terrible wind the other night. "Saw a wind!" said another, "I never heard of a wind being seen. But, pray, what was it like!"—"Like to have blown my house about my ears," replied the first.


An old woman received a letter, and, supposing it to be from one of her absent sons, she called on a person near to read it to her. He accordingly began and read, "Charleston, June 23, 1859. Dear mother," then making a stop to find out what followed (as the writing was rather bad), the old lady exclaimed, "Oh, 'tis my poor Jerry; he always stuttered!"


Dr. Henniker, being engaged in private conversation with the great Earl of Chatham, his lordship asked him how he defined wit. "My lord," said the doctor, "wit[Pg 60] is like what a pension would be, given by your lordship to your humble servant, a good thing well applied."


The house of Mr. Dundas, late President of the Court of Session in Scotland, having after his death been converted into a blacksmith's shop, a gentleman wrote upon its door the following impromptu:—

"The house a lawyer once enjoy'd,
Now to a smith doth pass;
How naturally the iron age
Succeeds the age of brass!"


Lord Bacon, speaking of commentators, critics, &c., said, "With all their pretensions, they were only brushers of noblemen's clothes."


A Quaker was examined before the Board of Excise, respecting certain duties; the commissioners thinking themselves disrespectfully treated by his theeing and thouing, one of them with a stern countenance asked him, "Pray, sir, do you know what we sit here for?"—"Yea," replied Nathan, "I do; some of thee for a thousand, and others for seventeen hundred and fifty pounds a year."


A man having been capitally convicted at the Old Bailey, was, as usual, asked what he had to say why judgment of death should not pass against him? "Say!" replied he, "why, I think the joke has been carried far enough already, and the less that is said about it the better: if you please, my lord, we'll drop the subject."


A judge asked a man what age he was. "I am eight and fourscore, my lord," says he. "And why not fourscore[Pg 61] and eight?" says the judge. "Because," replied he, "I was eight before I was fourscore."


It being remarked of a picture of "The Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen," in the Shakespeare Gallery, that the varnish was chilled and the figures rather sunk, the proprietors directed one of their assistants to give it a fresh coat of varnish. "Must I use copal or mastic?" said the young man. "Neither one nor the other," said a gentleman present; "if you wish to bring the figures out, varnish it with turtle soup."


George Colman being once told that a man whose character was not very immaculate had grossly abused him, pointedly remarked, that "the scandal and ill report of some persons that might be mentioned was like fuller's earth, it daubs your coat a little for a time, but when it is rubbed off your coat is so much the cleaner."


Mr. Thackeray once designated a certain noisy tragedian "Macready and onions."


On the Statue of George I. being placed on the top of Bloomsbury Church.

The King of Great Britain was reckoned before
The head of the Church by all Protestant people;
His Bloomsbury subjects have made him still more,
For with them he is now made the head of the steeple.


During the rage of republican principles in England, and whilst the Corresponding Society was in full vigor, Mr. Selwyn one May-day met a troop of chimney-sweepers, dressed out in all their gaudy trappings; and observed[Pg 62] to Mr. Fox, who was walking with him, "I say, Charles, I have often heard you and others talk of the majesty of the people; but I never saw any of the young princes and princesses till now."


An avaricious fenman, who kept a very scanty table, dining one Saturday with his son at an ordinary in Cambridge, whispered in his ear, "Tom, you must eat for to-day and to-morrow."—"O yes," retorted the half-starved lad, "but I han't eaten for yesterday and to-day yet, father."


"Why, pray, of late do Europe's kings
No jester to their courts admit?"
"They're grown such stately solemn things,
To bear a joke they think not fit.
But though each court a jester lacks,
To laugh at monarchs to their faces,
Yet all mankind, behind their backs,
Supply the honest jesters' places."


Anger may sometimes make dull men witty, but it keeps them poor. Queen Elizabeth seeing a disappointed courtier walking with a melancholy face in one of her gardens, asked him, "What does a man think of when he thinks of nothing?"—"Of a woman's promises!" was the reply; to which the Queen returned, "I must not confute you, Sir Edward," and she left him.


Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, once pressing the duke to take a medicine, with her usual warmth said, "I'll be hanged if it do not prove serviceable." Dr. Garth, who was present, exclaimed, "Do take it, then, my lord duke, for it must be of service one way or the other."[Pg 63]


A low fellow boasted in very hyperbolical terms that the king had spoken to him; and being asked what his Majesty had said, replied, "He bade me stand out of the way."


The Tories vow the Whigs are black as night,
And boast that they are only blessed with light.
Peel's politics to both sides so incline,
He may be called the equinoctial line.


An old offender being asked whether he had committed all the crimes laid to his charge, answered, "I have done still worse! I suffered myself to be apprehended."


Dr. Byron, of Manchester, eminent for his promptitude at an epigram, being once asked how it could happen that a lady rather stricken in years looked so much better in an evening than a morning, thus replied:—

"Ancient Phyllis has young graces,
'Tis a strange thing, but a true one.
Shall I tell you how?
She herself makes her own faces,
And each morning wears a new one!
Where's the wonder now?"


A little boy having been much praised for his quickness of reply, a gentleman present observed, that when children were keen in their youth, they were generally stupid and dull when they were advanced in years, and vice versâ. "What a very sensible boy, sir, must you have been!" returned the child.


A young man, boasting of his health and constitutional[Pg 64] stamina, was asked to what he chiefly attributed so great a happiness. "To laying in a good foundation, to be sure. I make a point, sir, to eat a great deal every morning."—"Then I presume, sir, you usually breakfast in a timber-yard," was the rejoinder.


A captain in the navy, meeting a friend as he landed at Portsmouth, boasted that he had left his whole ship's company the happiest fellows in the world. "How so?" asked his friend. "Why, I have just flogged seventeen, and they are happy it is over; and all the rest are happy that they have escaped."


A fellow stole Lord Chatham's large gouty shoes: his servant, not finding them, began to curse the thief. "Never mind," said his lordship, "all the harm I wish the rogue is, that the shoes may fit him!"


A spendthrift, who had nearly wasted all his patrimony, seeing an acquaintance in a coat not of the newest cut, told him that he thought it had been his great-grandfather's coat. "So it was," said the gentleman, "and I have also my great-grandfather's lands, which is more than you can say."


When Mr. Pope once dined at Lord Chesterfield's, some one observed that he should have known Pope was a great poet by his very shape; for it was in and out, like the lines of a Pindaric ode.


A sailor meeting an old acquaintance, whom the world had frowned upon a little, asked him where he lived? "Where I live," said he, "I don't know; but I starve towards Wapping, and that way."[Pg 65]


You beat your pate, and fancy wit will come:
Knock as you will, there's nobody at home.


A lady reproving a gentleman during a hard frost for swearing, advised him to leave it off, saying it was a very bad habit. "Very true, madam," answered he, "but at present it is too cold to think of parting with any habit, be it ever so bad."


"Do you," said Fanny, t' other day,
"In earnest love me as you say;
Or are those tender words applied
Alike to fifty girls beside?"
"Dear, cruel girl," cried I, "forbear,
For by those eyes,—those lips I swear!"
She stopped me as the oath I took,
And cried, "You've sworn,—now kiss the book."


Lord Norbury asking the reason of the delay that happened in a cause, was told that Mr. Serjeant Joy, who was to lead, was absent, but Mr. Hope, the solicitor, had said that he would return immediately. His lordship humorously repeated the well-known lines:—

"Hope told a flattering tale,
That Joy would soon return."


A gentleman on circuit narrating to Lord Norbury some extravagant feat in sporting, mentioned that he had lately shot thirty-three hares before breakfast. "Thirty-three hairs!" exclaimed Lord Norbury: "zounds, sir! then you must have been firing at a wig."


A noble lord, not over courageous, was once so far[Pg 66] engaged in an affair of honor, as to be drawn to Hyde Park to fight a duel. But just as he arrived at the Porter's Lodge, an empty hearse came by; on which his lordship's antagonist called out to the driver, "Stop here, my good fellow, a few minutes, and I'll send you a fare." This operated so strongly on his lordship's nerves, that he begged his opponent's pardon, and returned home in a whole skin.


"I can't conceive," said one nobleman to another, "how it is that you manage. Though your estate is less than mine, I could not afford to live at the rate you do."—"My lord," said the other, "I have a place."—"A place? you amaze me, I never heard of it till now,—pray what place?"—"I am my own steward."


Theophilus Cibber, who was very extravagant, one day asked his father for a hundred pounds. "Zounds, sir," said Colly, "can't you live upon your salary? When I was your age, I never spent a farthing of my father's money."—"But you have spent a great deal of my father's," replied Theophilus. This retort had the desired effect.


A person was boasting that he had never spoken the truth. "Then," added another, "you have now done it for the first time."


A lady asked a very silly Scotch nobleman, how it happened that the Scots who came out of their own country were, generally speaking, men of more abilities than those who remained at home. "O madam," said he, "the reason is obvious. At every outlet there are persons stationed to examine all who pass, that, for the honor of the country, no one be permitted to leave it who is not a man of understanding."—"Then," said she, "I suppose your lordship was smuggled."[Pg 67]


The attachment of some ladies to their lap-dogs amounts, in some instances, to infatuation. An ill-tempered lap-dog biting a piece out of a male visitor's leg, his mistress thus expressed her compassion: "Poor little dear creature! I hope it will not make him sick!"


An alderman of London once requested an author to write a speech for him to speak at Guildhall. "I must first dine with you," replied he, "and see how you open your mouth, that I may know what sort of words will fit it."


Whig and Tory scratch and bite,
Just as hungry dogs we see;
Toss a bone 'twixt two, they fight;
Throw a couple, they agree.


A person was complimenting Mrs. —— on her acting a certain female character so well. "To do justice to that character," replied the lady, modestly, "one should be young and handsome."—"Nay, madam," replied the gentleman, "you are a complete proof of the contrary."


When Mr. Canning was about giving up Gloucester Lodge, Brompton, he said to his gardener, as he took a farewell look of the grounds, "I am sorry, Fraser, to leave this old place."—"Psha, sir," said George, "don't fret; when you had this old place, you were out of place; now you are in place, you can get both yourself and me a better place." The hint was taken, and old George provided for.


A gentleman, who did not live very happily with his[Pg 68] wife, on the maid telling him that she was about to give her mistress warning, as she kept scolding her from morning till night. "Happy girl!" said the master, "I wish I could give warning too."


A common-councilman's lady paying her daughter a visit at school, and inquiring what progress she had made in her education, the governess answered, "pretty good, madam, she is very attentive: if she wants anything it is a capacity: but for that deficiency you know we must not blame her."—"No madam," replied the mother, "but I blame you for not having mentioned it before. Her father can afford his daughter a capacity; and I beg she may have one immediately, cost what it may."


In a cause respecting a will, evidence was given to prove the testatrix, an apothecary's widow, a lunatic; amongst other things, it was deposed that she had swept a quantity of pots, lotions, potions, &c., into the street as rubbish. "I doubt," said the learned judge, "whether sweeping physic into the street be any proof of insanity."—"True, my lord," replied the counsel, "but sweeping the pots away, certainly was."


Lord Stanley came plainly dressed to request a private audience of King James I., but was refused admittance into the royal closet by a sprucely-dressed countryman of the king's. James hearing the altercation between the two, came out and inquired the cause. "My liege," said Lord Stanley, "this gay countryman of yours has refused me admittance to your presence."—"Cousin," said the king, "how shall I punish him? Shall I send him to the Tower?"—"O no, my liege," replied Lord Stanley, "inflict a severer punishment,—send him back to Scotland!"


Lord Willoughby de Broke was a very singular character,[Pg 69] and had more peculiarities than any nobleman of his day. Coming once out of the House of Peers, and not seeing his servant among those who were waiting at the door, he called out in a very loud voice, "Where can my fellow be?"—"Not in Europe, my lord," said Anthony Henley, who happened to be near him, "not in Europe."


One of Cromwell's granddaughters was remarkable for her vivacity and humor. One summer, being in company at Tunbridge Wells, a gentleman having taken great offence at some sarcastic observation she made, intending to insult her, said, "You need not give yourself such airs, madam; you know your grandfather was hanged."—To which she instantly replied, "But not till he was dead."


At a grand review by George III. of the Portsmouth fleet in 1789, there was a boy who mounted the shrouds with so much agility as to surprise every spectator. The king particularly noticed it, and said to Lord Lothian, "Lothian, I have heard much of your agility; let us see you run up after that boy."—"Sire," replied Lord Lothian, "it is my duty to follow your Majesty."


Sheridan inquiring of his son what side of politics he should espouse on his inauguration to St. Stephen's, the son replied, that he intended to vote for those who offered best, and that he should wear on his forehead a label, "To let."—"I suppose, Tom, you mean to add, unfurnished," rejoined the father.


Lord B——, who sported a ferocious pair of whiskers, meeting Mr. O'Connell in Dublin, the latter said, "When do you mean to place your whiskers on the peace establishment?"—"When you place your tongue on the civil list!" was the rejoinder.[Pg 70]


A mathematician being asked by a wag, "If a pig weighs 200 pounds, how much will a great boar (bore?) weigh?" he replied, "Jump into the scales, and I will tell you immediately."


An Irishman being asked which was oldest, he or his brother, "I am eldest," said he, "but if my brother lives three years longer, we shall be both of an age."


A gentleman describing a person who often visited him for the sole purpose of having a long gossip, called him Mr. Jones the stay-maker.


There is a celebrated reply of Mr. Curran to a remark of Lord Clare, who curtly exclaimed at one of his legal positions, "O! if that be law, Mr. Curran, I may burn my law-books!"—"Better read them, my lord," was the sarcastic and appropriate rejoinder.


"The mortality among Byron's mistresses," said the late Lady A——ll, "is really alarming. I think he generally buries, in verse, a first love every fortnight."—"Madam," replied Curran, "mistresses are not so mortal. The fact is, my lord weeps for the press, and wipes his eyes with the public."


It was observed of an old citizen that he was the most regular man in London in his attendance at church, and no man in the kingdom was more punctual in his prayers. "He has a very good reason for it," replied John Wilkes, "for, as he never gave a shilling, did a kindness, or conferred a favor on any man living, no one would pray for him."[Pg 71]


Bishop Warburton, going to Cirencester to confirm, he was supplied at the altar with an elbow-chair and a cushion, which he did not much like, and calling to the churchwarden said, "I suppose, sir, your fattest butcher has sat in this chair, and your most violent Methodist preacher thumped the cushion."


Lord Byron's valet (Mr. Fletcher) grievously excited his master's ire by observing, while Byron was examining the remains of Athens, "La me, my lord, what capital mantelpieces that marble would make in England!"


In King William's time a Mr. Tredenham was taken before the Earl of Nottingham on suspicion of having treasonable papers in his possession. "I am only a poet," said the captive, "and those papers are my roughly-sketched play." The Earl examined the papers, however, and then returned them, saying, "I have heard your statement and read your play, and as I can find no trace of a plot in either, you may go free."


Dr. Johnson was observed by a musical friend of his to be extremely inattentive at a concert, whilst a celebrated solo player was running up the divisions and sub-divisions of notes upon his violin. His friend, to induce him to take greater notice of what was going on, told him how extremely difficult it was. "Difficult, do you call it, sir?" replied the doctor; "I wish it were impossible."


Nature descends down to infinite smallness. Mr. Canning has his parasites; and if you take a large buzzing blue-bottle fly, and look at it in a microscope, you may see twenty or thirty little ugly insects crawling about it,[Pg 72] which doubtless think their fly to be the bluest, grandest, merriest, most important animal in the universe, and are convinced that the world would be at an end if it ceased to buzz.—S.S.


A certain physician was so fond of administering medicine, that, seeing all the phials and pill-boxes of his patient completely emptied, and ranged in order on the table, he said, "Ah, sir, it gives me pleasure to attend you,—you deserve to be ill."


By one decisive argument
Tom gained his lovely Kate's consent,
To fix the bridal day.
"Why in such haste, dear Tom, to wed?
I shall not change my mind," she said.
"But then," says he, "I may."


"Nature has written 'honest man' on his face," said a friend to Jerrold, speaking of a person in whom Jerrold's faith was not altogether blind. "Humph!" Jerrold replied, "then the pen must have been a very bad one."


One of old Mr. Sheridan's favorite characters was Cato: and on its revival at Covent Garden Theatre, a Mr. Wignell assumed his old-established part of Portius; and having stepped forward with a prodigious though accustomed strut, began:—

"The dawn is overcast; the morning lowers,
And heavily, in clouds, brings on the day."

The audience upon this began to vociferate "Prologue! prologue! prologue!" when Wignell, finding them resolute, without betraying any emotion, pause, or change in his voice and manner, proceeded as if it were part of the play:[Pg 73]

"Ladies and gentlemen, there has been no
Prologue spoken to this play these twenty years—
The great, the important day, big with the fate
Of Cato and of Rome."

This wonderful effusion put the audience in good humor: they laughed immoderately, clapped, and shouted "Bravo!" and Wignell still continued with his usual composure and stateliness.


A notorious egotist, indirectly praising himself for a number of good qualities which it was well known he had not, asked Macklin the reason why he should have this propensity of interfering in the good of others when he frequently met with very unsuitable returns. "The cause is plain enough," said Macklin; "impudence,—nothing but stark-staring impudence!"


A coxcomb, teasing Dr. Parr with an account of his petty ailments, complained that he could never go out without catching cold in his head. "No wonder," returned the doctor; "you always go out without anything in it."


The grass-plots in the college courts or quadrangles are not for the unhallowed feet of the under-graduates. Some, however, are hardy enough to venture, in despite of all remonstrance. A master of Trinity had often observed a student of his college invariably to cross the green, when, in obedience to the calls of his appetite, he went to hall to dine. One day the master determined to reprove the delinquent for invading the rights of his superiors, and for that purpose he threw up the sash at which he was sitting, and called to the student,—"Sir, I never look out of my window but I see you walking across the grass-plot". "My lord," replied the offender instantly, "I never walk across the grass-plot, but I see you looking out of your window." The master, pleased at the readiness of the reply, closed his window, convulsed with laughter.[Pg 74]


Lord Peterborough was once taken by the mob for the great Duke of Marlborough (who was then in disgrace with them); and being about to be roughly treated, said,—"Gentlemen, I can convince you by two reasons that I am not the Duke of Marlborough. In the first place, I have only five guineas in my pocket; and in the second, they are heartily at your service." He got out of their hands with loud huzzas and acclamations.


In merry Old England it once was the rule,
The king had his poet and also his fool;
But now we're so frugal, I'd have you to know it,
That Cibber can serve both for fool and for poet.


Charles Mathews, the elder, being asked what he was going to do with his son (the young man's profession was to be that of an architect), "Why," answered the comedian, "he is going to draw houses, like his father."


Dr. Roger Long, the celebrated astronomer, was walking, one dark evening, with a gentleman in Cambridge, when the latter came to a short post fixed in the pavement, but which, in the earnestness of conversation, taking to be a boy standing in the path, he said hastily, "Get out of the way, boy."—"That boy," said the doctor, very seriously, "is a post-boy, who never turns out of the way for anybody."


A young lady visiting in the family asked John at dinner for a potato. John made no response. The request was repeated; when John, putting his mouth to her ear, said, very audibly, "There's jist twa in the dish, and they maun be keepit for the strangers."[Pg 75]


The following dialogue was lately heard at an assize:—Counsel: "What was the height of the horse?" Witness: "Sixteen feet." Counsel: "How old was he?" Witness: "Six years." Counsel: "How high did you say he was?" Witness: "Sixteen hands." Counsel: "You said just now sixteen feet." Witness: "Sixteen feet! Did I say sixteen feet?" Counsel: "You did." Witness: "If I did say sixteen feet, it was sixteen feet!—you don't catch me crossing myself!"


Determined beforehand, we gravely pretend
To ask the opinion and thoughts of a friend;
Should his differ from ours on any pretence,
We pity his want both of judgment and sense;
But if he falls into and flatters our plan,
Why, really we think him a sensible man.


In the parlor of a public-house in Fleet Street, there used to be written over the chimney-piece the following notice: "Gentlemen learning to spell are requested to use yesterday's paper."


A player applied to the manager of a respectable company for an engagement for himself and his wife, stating that his lady was capable of playing all the first line of business; but as for himself he was "the worst actor in the world." They were engaged, and the lady answered the character which he had given of her. The gentleman having the part of a mere walking gentleman sent him for his first appearance, he asked the manager, indignantly, how could he put him in such a paltry part. "Sir," answered the other, "here is your own letter, stating that you were the worst actor in the world."—"True," replied the other, "but then I had not seen you."[Pg 76]


Some one had written upon a pane in the window of an inn on the Chester road, "Lord M——ms has the softest lips in the universe.—Phillis." Mrs. Abingdon saw this inscription, and wrote under it,—

"Then as like as two chips
Are his head and his lips.—Amarillis."


Cambridge etiquette has been very happily caricatured by the following anecdote. A gownsman, one day walking along the banks of the Cam, observing a luckless son of his Alma Mater in the agonies of drowning, "What a pity," he exclaimed, "that I have not had the honor of being introduced to the gentleman; I might have saved him;" and walked on, leaving the poor fellow to his fate.


(On interminable harangues.)

Ye fates that hold the vital shears,
If ye be troubled with remorse,
And will not cut ——'s thread of life,
Cut then the thread of his discourse.


A horseman crossing a moor, asked a countryman, if it was safe riding. "Ay," answered the countryman, "it is hard enough at the bottom, I'll warrant you;" but in half-a-dozen steps the horse sunk up to the girths. "You story-telling rascal, you said it was hard at the bottom!"—"Ay," replied the other, "but you are not half-way to the bottom yet."


"——," said one of his eulogists, "always knows his own mind." We will cede the point, for it amounts to an admission that he knows nothing.[Pg 77]


When Bannister was asked his opinion of a new singer that had appeared at Covent Garden, "Why," said Charles, "he may be Robin Hood this season, but he will be robbing Harris (the manager) the next."


An officer, in battle, happening to bow, a cannon-ball passed over his head, and took off that of the soldier who stood behind him. "You see," said he, "that a man never loses by politeness."


"Never be critical upon the ladies," was the maxim of an old Irish peer, remarkable for his homage to the sex; "the only way in the world that a true gentleman ever will attempt to look at the faults of a pretty woman, is to shut his eyes."


A lady who went to consult Mr. Abernethy, began describing her complaint, which is what he very much disliked. Among other things she said, "Whenever I lift my arm, it pains me exceedingly."—"Why then, ma'am," answered Mr. A., "you area great fool for doing so."


To John I owed great obligation,
But John, unhappily, thought fit
To publish it to all the nation;
Sure John and I are more than quit.


A clever literary friend of Jerrold, and one who could take a joke, told him he had just had "some calf's-tail soup."—"Extremes meet sometimes," said Jerrold.[Pg 78]


A person who dined in company with Dr. Johnson endeavored to make his court to him by laughing immoderately at everything he said. The doctor bore it for some time with philosophical indifference; but the impertinent ha, ha, ha! becoming intolerable, "Pray, sir," said the doctor, "what is the matter? I hope I have not said anything that you can comprehend."


Garrick was on a visit at Hagley, when news came that a company of players were going to perform at Birmingham. Lord Lyttelton said to Garrick, "They will hear you are in the neighborhood, and will ask you to write an address to the Birmingham audience."—"Suppose, then," said Garrick, without the least hesitation, "I begin thus:—

Ye sons of iron, copper, brass, and steel,
Who have not heads to think, nor hearts to feel—"

"Oh!" cried his lordship, "if you begin thus, they will hiss the players off the stage and pull the house down."—"My lord," said Garrick, "what is the use of an address if it does not come home to the business and bosoms of the audience?"


A gentleman, talking with his gardener, expressed his admiration at the rapid growth of the trees. "Why, yes, sir," says the man; "please to consider that they have nothing else to do."


Franklin, when ambassador to France, being at a meeting of a literary society, and not well understanding the French when declaimed, determined to applaud when he saw a lady of his acquaintance express satisfaction. When they had ceased, a little child, who understood the French, said to him, "But, grandpapa, you always applauded the loudest when they were praising you!" Franklin laughed heartily and explained the matter.[Pg 79]


The toilette of a woman is an altar erected by self-love to vanity.


"I never was ruined but twice," said a wit; "once when I lost a lawsuit, and once when I gained one."


A country schoolmaster was met by a certain nobleman, who asked his name and vocation. Having declared his name, he added, "And I am master of this parish."—"Master of this parish," observed the peer, "how can that be?"—"I am master of the children of the parish," said the man; "the children are masters of their mothers, the mothers are rulers of the fathers, and consequently I am master of the whole parish."


Sir Walter Scott once stated that he kept a lowland laird waiting for him in the library at Abbotsford, and that when he came in he found the laird deep in a book which Sir Walter perceived to be Johnson's Dictionary. "Well, Mr. ——," said Sir Walter, "how do you like your book?"—"They're vera pretty stories, Sir Walter," replied the laird; "but they're unco' short."


If ancient poets Argus prize,
Who boasted of a hundred eyes,
Sure greater praise to her is due,
Who looks a hundred ways with two.


Foote one evening announced, for representation at the Haymarket Theatre, "The Fair Penitent," to be performed, for that night only, by a black lady of great accomplishments.[Pg 80]


Horne Tooke, being asked by George III. whether he played at cards, replied, "I cannot, your Majesty, tell a king from a knave."


Lord Ellenborough, on his return from Hone's trial, suddenly stopped his carriage at Charing Cross, and said, "It occurs to me that they sell the best herrings in London at that shop. Buy six."


A baker has invented a new kind of yeast. It makes bread so light that a pound of it weighs only twelve ounces.


The late Judge C—— one day had occasion to examine a witness who stuttered very much in delivering his testimony. "I believe," said his lordship, "you are a very great rogue."—"Not so great a rogue as you my lord,—t-t-t-take me to be."


As Romeo, Kean, with awkward grace,
On velvet rests, 'tis said;
Ah! did he seek a softer place,
He'd rest upon his head.


Curran, when opposed to Lord Clare, said that he reminded him of a chimney-sweep, who had raised himself by dark and dusky ways, and then called aloud to his neighbors to witness his dirty elevation.


A quaker being asked his opinion of phrenology, replied indignantly, "Friend, there can be no good in a science that compels a man to take off his hat!"[Pg 81]


In a valedictory address an editor wrote: "If we have offended any man in the short but brilliant course of our public career, let him send us a new hat, and we will then forget the past." A cool chap that!


Foote, from his earthly stage, alas! is hurled,
Death took him off, who took off all the world.


"Mother, this book tells about the angry waves of the ocean. Now, what makes the ocean get angry?"—"Because it has been crossed so often, my son."


Dr. Abernethy, the celebrated physician, was never more displeased than by hearing a patient detail a long account of troubles. A woman, knowing Abernethy's love of the laconic, having burned her hand, called at his house. Showing him her hand, she said, "A burn."—"A poultice," quietly answered the learned doctor. The next day she returned, and said, "Better."—"Continue the poultice," replied Dr. A. In a week she made her last call and her speech was lengthened to three words, "Well,—your fee?"—"Nothing," said the physician; "you are the most sensible woman I ever saw."


If L—d—d—y has a grain of sense,
He can be only half a lord 'tis clear;
For from the fact we draw the inference,
He's that which never has been made a peer.


A quaker said to a gunner, "Friend, I counsel no bloodshed; but if it be thy design to hit the little man in the blue jacket, point thine engine three inches lower."[Pg 82]


At the last rehearsal of "Joanna," Mr. Wild, the prompter, asked the author for an order to admit two friends to the boxes; and whether Mr. Cumberland was thinking of the probable proceeds of his play, or whether his anxiety otherwise bewildered him, cannot be ascertained; but he wrote, instead of the usual "two to the boxes"—"admit two pounds two."


His hair so black,—his beard so gray,
'Tis strange! But would you know the cause?
'Tis that his labors always lay,
Less on his brain than on his jaws.


A widower, having taken another wife, was, nevertheless, always paying some panegyric to the memory of his late spouse, in the presence of his present one; who one day added, with great feeling, "Believe me, my dear, nobody regrets her loss more than I do."


A young man having preached for the doctor one day, was anxious to get a word of applause for his labor of love. The grave doctor, however, did not introduce the subject, and his younger brother was obliged to bait the hook for him. "I hope, sir, I did not weary your people by the length of my sermon to-day?"—"No, sir, not at all; nor by the depth either!" The young man was silent.


An Irishman being asked on a late trial for a certificate of his marriage, exhibited a huge scar on his head, which looked as though it might have been made with a fire-shovel. The evidence was satisfactory.


The great scholar had a horror of the east wind; and[Pg 83] Tom Sheridan once kept him prisoner in the house for a fortnight by fixing the weathercock in that direction.


We every-day bards may "Anonymous" sign:
That refuge, Miss Edgeworth, can never be thine:
Thy writings, where satire and moral unite,
Must bring forth the name of their author to light.
Good and bad join in telling the source of their birth,
The bad own their Edge and the good own their worth.


A retired vocalist, who had acquired a large fortune by marriage, was asked to sing in company. "Allow me," said he, "to imitate the nightingale, which does not sing after it has made its nest."


In the House of Commons, the grand characteristic of the office of the Speaker is silence; and he fills the place best who best holds his tongue. There are other speakers in the House (not official) who would show their sagacity by following the example of their President.


A physician passing by a stone-mason's shop bawled out, "Good morning, Mr. D.! Hard at work, I see. You finish your gravestones as far as 'In the memory of,' and then wait, I suppose, to see who wants a monument next?"—"Why, yes," replied the old man, "unless somebody's sick, and you are doctoring him; then I keep right on."



Is that dace or perch?
Said Alderman Birch;
[Pg 84] I take it for herring,
Said Alderman Perring.
This jack's very good,
Said Alderman Wood;
But its bones might a man slay,
Said Alderman Ansley.
I'll butter what I get,
Said Alderman Heygate.
Give me some stewed carp,
Said Alderman Thorp;
The roe's dry as pith,
Said Aldermen Smith.
Don't cut so far down,
Said Alderman Brown;
But nearer the fin,
Said Alderman Glyn.
I've finished, i'faith, man,
Said Alderman Waithman:
And I too, i'fatkins,
Said Alderman Atkins.
They've crimped this cod drolly,
Said Alderman Scholey;
'T is bruised at the ridges,
Said Alderman Brydges.
Was it caught in a drag? Nay,
Said Alderman Magnay.
'T was brought by two men,
Said Alderman Ven-
ables: Yes, in a box,
Said Alderman Cox.
They care not how fur 'tis,
Said Alderman Curtis;
From air kept, and from sun,
Said Alderman Thompson;
Packed neatly in straw,
Said Alderman Shaw:
In ice got from Gunter,
Said Alderman Hunter.
This ketchup is sour,
Said Alderman Flower;
Then steep it in claret,
Said Alderman Garret.
[Pg 85]


Charles II. playing at tennis with a dean, who struck the ball well, the king said, "That's a good stroke for a dean."—"I'll give it the stroke of a bishop if your Majesty pleases," was the suggestive rejoinder.


To such a height had arrived the custom of giving vails, or visiting-fees, to servants, in 1762, that Jonas Hanway published upon the subject eight letters to the Duke of N——, supposed to be the Duke of Newcastle. Sir Thomas Waldo related to Hanway, that, on leaving the house of the Duke alluded to, after having feed a train of other servants, he (Sir Thomas) put a crown into the hand of the cook, who returned it, saying, "Sir, I do not take silver."—"Don't you, indeed!" said the baronet, putting it into his pocket; "then I do."


Avarice is criminal poverty.


"I'm very glad," to E—b—h said
His brother exquisite, Macassar Draper,
"That 'tis the outer product of your head,
And not the inner, you commit to paper!"


A scholar and a courtier meeting in the street, seemed to contest the wall. Says the courtier, "I do not use to give every coxcomb the wall." The scholar answered, "But I do, sir;" and so passed by him.


An old deaf beggar, whom Collins the painter was once engaged in sketching at Hendon, exhibited great self-possession. Finding, from certain indications, that the body and garments of this English Edie Ochiltree afforded[Pg 86] a sort of pasture-ground to a herd of many animals of minute size, he hinted his fears to the old man that he might leave some of his small body-guard, behind him. "No fear, sir; no fear," replied this deaf and venerable vagrant, contemplating the artist with serious serenity; "I don't think they are any of them likely to leave me for you."


A physician of an acrimonious disposition, and having a thorough hatred of lawyers, reproached a barrister with the use of phrases utterly unintelligible. "For example," said he, "I never could understand what you lawyers mean by docking an entail."—"That is very likely," answered the lawyer, "but I will explain it to you: it is doing what you doctors never consent to,—suffering a recovery."


A recruiting serjeant addressing an honest country bumpkin with,—"Come, my lad, thou'lt fight for thy King, won't thou?"—"Voight for my King," answered Hodge, "why, has he fawn out wi' ony body?"


E—d—n was asked by one of note,
Why merit he did not promote;
"For this good reason," answered he,
"'Cause merit ne'er promoted me."


Of this tragedy, the production of Joseph Reed, author of the "Register Office," Mr. Nicholls, in his "Literary Anecdotes," gives some curious particulars. He also relates an anecdote of Johnson concerning it: "It happened that I was in Bolt Court on the day that Henderson, the justly celebrated actor, was first introduced to Dr. Johnson: and the conversation turning on dramatic subjects, Henderson asked the Doctor's opinion of "Dido" and its author. "Sir," said Johnson, "I never did the man an injury, yet he would read his tragedy to me."[Pg 87]


A countryman took his seat at a tavern-table opposite to a gentleman who was indulging in a bottle of wine. Supposing the wine to be common property, our unsophisticated country friend helped himself to it with the gentleman's glass. "That's cool!" exclaimed the owner of the wine, indignantly. "Yes," replied the other; "I should think there was ice in it."


During a recent representation of King Lear at one of our metropolitan theatres, an old gentleman from the country, who was visibly affected by the pathos of some of the scenes, electrified the house by roaring out, "Mr. Manager! Sir! Alter the play! I didn't pay my money to be made wretched in this way. Give us something funny, or I'll summons you, sir!"


An old sea captain used to say he didn't care how he dressed when abroad, "because nobody knew him." And he didn't care how he dressed when at home, "because everybody knew him."


Erskine was once retained for a Mr. Bolt, whose character was impugned by Mr. Mingay, the counsel on the other side. "Gentlemen," said Erskine, in reply, "the plaintiff's counsel has taken unwarrantable liberties with my client's good name, representing him as litigious and unjust. So far, however, from this being his character, he goes by the name of Bolt upright."


On one occasion the Duke's deafness was alluded to by Lady A——, who asked if she was sitting on his right side, and if he had benefited by the operations which she heard had been performed, and had been so painful to him. He said, in reply, that the gentleman had been bold[Pg 88] enough to ask him for a certificate, but that he had really been of no service to him, and that he could only answer him by saying, "I tell you what, I won't say a word about it."


If a man were to set out calling everything by its right name, he would be knocked down before he got to the corner of the street.


(To those in want of employment.)

Whoe'er will at the "Gloucester's Head" apply,
Is always sure to find a vacancy.


A huge, double-sheeted copy of the Times newspaper was put into the hands of a member of the Union Club by one of the waiters. "Oh, what a bore all this is," said the member, surveying the gigantic journal. "Ah," answered another member, who overheard him, "it is all very well for you who are occupied all day with business bore; but to a man living in the country,—it is equal to a day's fishing."


Dr. Parr had a high opinion of his own skill at whist, and could not even patiently tolerate the want of it in his partner. Being engaged with a party in which he was unequally matched, he was asked by a lady how the fortune of the game turned, when he replied, "Pretty well, madam, considering that I have three adversaries."


(On the depth of Lord —— arguments.)

Yes, in debate we must admit,
His argument is quite profound;
His reasoning's deep, for deuce a bit
Can anybody see the ground.
[Pg 89]


Theodore Hook, being in company, where he said something humorous in rhyme to every person present, on Mr. Winter, the late Solicitor of Taxes, being announced, made the following impromptu:—

Here comes Mr. Winter, collector of taxes,
I advise you to give him whatever he axes;
I advise you to give it without any flummery,
For though his name's Winter, his actions are summary.


(On the immortality of ——'s speeches.)

Thy speeches are immortal, O my friend,
For he that hears them—hears them to no end.


A witch, being at the stake to be burnt, saw her son there, and desired him to give her some drink. "No, mother," said he, "it would do you wrong, for the drier you are, the better you will burn."


Lord Byron, in reference to a lady he thought ill of, writes, "Lady —— has been dangerously ill; but it may console you to learn that she is dangerously well again."


(On Lord E—nb——h's pericranium.)

Let none because of its abundant locks,
Deceive themselves by thinking for a minute,
That dandy E—nb——h's "knowledge-box"
Has anything worth larceny within it.


A Californian gold digger having become rich, desired a friend to procure for him a library of books. The[Pg 90] friend obeyed, and received a letter of thanks thus worded: "I am obliged to you for the pains of your selection. I particularly admire a grand religious poem about Paradise, by a Mr. Milton, and a set of plays (quite delightful) by a Mr. Shakespeare. If these gentlemen should write and publish anything more, be sure and send me their new works."


Jemmy Gordon, meeting the prosecutor of a felon, named Pilgrim, who was convicted and sentenced to be transported at the Cambridge assizes, exclaimed, "You have done, sir, what the Pope of Rome could never do; you have put a stop to Pilgrim's Progress!"


Life is a lottery where we find
That fortune plays full many a prank;
And when poor —— got his mind,
'Twas fortune made him draw a blank.


One drinking some beer at a petty ale-house in the country, which was very strong of the hops and hardly any taste of the malt, was asked by the landlord, if it was not well hopped. "Yes," answered he, "if it had hopped a little farther, it would have hopped into the water."


A recent philosopher discovered a method to avoid being dunned! "How—how—how?" we hear everybody asking. He never run in debt.


"Cracked China mended!" Zounds, man, off this minute! There's work for you, or else the deuce is in it!


Charles Lamb sitting next some chattering woman at[Pg 91] dinner, observing he didn't attend to her, "You don't seem," said the lady, "to be at all the better for what I am saying to you!"—"No, ma'am," he answered, "but this gentleman on the other side of me must, for it all came in at one ear and went out at the other!"


On the birth of a friend's son (now a well-known novelist), Sir David Wilkie was requested to become one of the sponsors for his child. Sir David, whose studies of human nature extended to everything but infant human nature, had evidently been refreshing his boyish recollections of puppies and kittens; for, after looking intently into the child's eyes, as it was held up for his inspection, he exclaimed to the father, with serious astonishment and satisfaction, "He sees!"


At a tavern one night,
Messrs. More, Strange, and Wright
Met to drink, and good thoughts to exchange:
Says More, "Of us three,
The whole town will agree,
There is only one knave, and that's Strange."
"Yes," says Strange (rather sore),
"I'm sure there's one More,
A most terrible knave and a bite,
Who cheated his mother,
His sister and brother."—
"O yes," replied More, "that is Wright."


A man was brought before Lord Mansfield, charged with stealing a silver ladle, and the counsel for the crown was rather severe upon the prisoner for being an attorney. "Come, come," said his lordship, "don't exaggerate matters; if the fellow had been an attorney, he would have stolen the bowl as well as the ladle."[Pg 92]


The manager of a Scotch theatre, at which F.G. Cooke was playing Macbeth, seeing him greatly exhausted towards the close of the performance, offered him some whiskey in a very small thistle-glass, saying at the same time, by way of encouragement, "Take that, Mr. Cooke; take that, sir; it is the real mountain dew; that will never hurt you, sir!"—"Not if it was vitriol!" was the rejoinder.


The following bill of fare (which consists of a dish of fish, a joint of meat, a couple of fowls, vegetables, and a pudding, being in all seven dishes for sevenpence!) had its rise in an invitation which a young lady of forty-seven sent to her lover to dine with her on Christmas Day. To unite taste and economy is no easy thing; but to show her lover she had learned that difficult art, she gave him the following dinner:—

At top, fish, two herrings001
Middle, one ounce and a half of butter, melted000-3/4
Bottom, a mutton chop, divided002
On one side, one pound of small potatoes000-1/2
On the other side, pickled cabbage000-1/2
First remove, two larks, plenty of crumbs001-1/2
Mutton removed, French-roll boiled for a pudding000-1/2
Parsley for garnish000-1/4

—Seven dishes for sevenpence!


Of a light, frivolous, flighty girl, whom Jerrold met frequently, he said, "That girl has no more head than a periwinkle."


Tom bought a gallon of gin to take home; and, by way[Pg 93] of a label, wrote his name upon a card, which happened to be the seven of clubs, and tied it to the handle. A friend coming along, and observing the jug, quietly remarked: "That's an awful careless way to leave that liquor!"—"Why?" said Tom. "Because somebody might come along with the eight of clubs and take it!"


A gentleman, playing at piquet, was much teased by a looker-on who was short-sighted, and, having a very long nose, greatly incommoded the player. To get rid of the annoyance, the player took out his handkerchief, and applied it to the nose of his officious neighbor. "Ah! sir," said he, "I beg your pardon, but I really took it for my own."


All honest men, whether counts or cobblers, are of the same rank, if classed by moral distinctions.


Grattan said of Hussey Burgh, who had been a great Liberal, but, on getting his silk gown, became a Ministerialist, that all men knew silk to be a non-conducting body, and that since the honorable member had been enveloped in silk, no spark of patriotism had reached his heart.


Every Cantab, it is presumed, knows where Shelford Fen is, and that it is famous for rearing geese. A luckless wight, who had the misfortune to be plucked at his examination for the degree of B.A., when the Rev. T. Shelford was his examiner, made the following extemporaneous epigram:—

"I have heard they plucked geese upon Shelford Fen,
But never till now knew that Shelford plucked men."


One afternoon, when Jerrold was in his garden at Putney,[Pg 94] enjoying a glass of claret, a friend called upon him. The conversation ran on a certain dull fellow, whose wealth made him prominent at that time.

"Yes," said Jerrold, drawing his finger round the edge of his wineglass, "that's the range of his intellect, only it had never anything half so good in it."


Foote, dining one day with Lord Townsend, after his duel with Lord Bellamont, the wine being bad, and the dinner ill-dressed, made Foote observe, that he could not discover what reason could compel his lordship to fight, when he might have effected his purpose with much more ease to himself. "How?" asked his lordship. "How?" replied the wit, "why you should have given him a dinner like this, and poisoned him."


"Tom," said a colonel to one of his men, "how can so good and brave a soldier as you get drunk so often?"—"Colonel," replied he, "how can you expect all the virtues that adorn the human character for sixpence a-day?"


A gentleman once bought a horse of a country-dealer. The bargain concluded, and the money paid, the gentleman said, "Now, my friend, I have bought your horse, what are his faults?"—"I know of no faults that he has, except two," replied the man; "and one is, that he is hard to catch."—"Oh! never mind that," said the buyer, "I will contrive to catch him at any time, I will engage; but what is the other?"—"Ah, sir! that is the worst," answered the fellow; "he is good for nothing when you have caught him."


A man said the only reason why his dwelling was not blown away in a late storm was, because there was a heavy mortgage on it.[Pg 95]


Mathews's attendant, in his last illness, intending to give him his medicine, gave in mistake some ink from a phial on a shelf. On discovering the error, his friend exclaimed, "Good heavens! Mathews, I have given you ink."—"Never—never mind, my boy—never mind," said Mathews, faintly, "I'll swallow a bit—of blotting-paper."


An old gentleman of eighty-four having taken to the altar a young damsel of about sixteen, the clergyman said to him, "The font is at the other end of the church."—"What do I want with the font?" said the old gentleman. "Oh! I beg your pardon," said the clerical wit, "I thought you had brought this child to be christened."


Ned Shuter thus explained his reasons for preferring to wear stockings with holes to having them darned:—"A hole," said he, "may be the accident of a day, and will pass upon the best gentleman, but a darn is premeditated poverty."


A celebrated quack, while holding forth on a stage of Chelmsford, in order to promote the sale of his medicine, told the people that he came there for their good, and not for want. And then addressing his Merry Andrew, "Andrew," said he, "do we come here for want?"—"No faith, sir," replied Andrew, "we have enough of that at home."


Dryden's description of wit is excellent. He says:—

"A thousand different shapes wit wears,
Comely in thousand shapes appears;
'Tis not a tale, 'tis not a jest,
Admired with laughter at a feast;
Nor florid talk, which can this title gain,—
The proofs of wit for ever must remain."
[Pg 96]


Sir Francis Blake Delaval's death had such an effect on Foote that he burst into tears, retired to his room, and saw no company for two days; the third day, Jewel, his treasurer, calling in upon him, he asked him, with swollen eyes, what time would the burial be? "Not till next week, sir," replied the other, "as I hear the surgeons are first to dissect his head." This last word restored Foote's fancy, and, repeating it with some surprise, he asked, "And what will they get there? I am sure I have known poor Frank these five-and-twenty years, and I never could find anything in it."


"We don't sell spirits," said a law-evading beer-seller; "we will give you a glass; and then, if you want a biscuit, we'll sell it to you for three ha'pence." The "good creature" was handed down, a stiff glass swallowed, and the landlord handed his customer a biscuit. "Well, no, I think not," said the customer; "you sell 'em too dear. I can get lots of 'em five or six for a penny anywhere else."


An overbearing barrister, endeavoring to brow-beat a witness, told him he could plainly see a rogue in his face. "I never knew till now," said the witness, "that my face was a looking-glass."


An artist named Forfeit, having some job to do for Foote, got into a foolish scrape about the antiquity of family with another artist, who gave him such a drubbing as confined him to his bed for a considerable time. "Forfeit! Forfeit!" said Foote, "why, surely you have the best of the argument; your family is not only several thousand years old, but at the same time the most numerous of any on the face of the globe, on the authority of Shakespeare:—

"All the souls that are, were Forfeit once."
[Pg 97]


Died from fatigue, three laundresses together all,
Verdict,—had tried to wash a shirt marked Wetherall.[A]

[A] Sir Charles Wetherall was noted for want of cleanliness.


A friend was one day reading to Jerrold an account of a case in which a person named Ure was reproached with having suddenly jilted a young lady to whom he was engaged. "Ure seems to have turned out to be a base 'un," said Jerrold.


A professor of legerdemain entertained an audience in a village, which was principally composed of colliers. After "astonishing the natives" with various tricks, he asked the loan of a halfpenny. A collier, with a little hesitation, handed out the coin, which the juggler speedily exhibited, as he said, transformed into a sovereign. "An' is that my bawbee?" exclaimed the collier. "Undoubtedly," answered the juggler. "Let's see 't," said the collier; and turning it round and round with an ecstasy of delight, thanked the juggler for his kindness, and putting it into his pocket, said, "I'se war'nt ye'll no turn't into a bawbee again."


The Baron de Béranger relates, that, having secured a pickpocket in the very act of irregular abstraction, he took the liberty of inquiring whether there was anything in his face that had procured him the honor of being singled out for such an attempt. "Why, sir," said the fellow, "your face is well enough, but you had on thin shoes and white stockings in dirty weather, and so I made sure you were a flat."


When it was the custom for barristers to leave chambers early, and to finish their evenings at the coffee-houses in[Pg 98] the neighborhood of the inns of court, Lord Thurlow on some occasion wanted to see Dunning privately. He went to the coffee-house frequented by him, and asked a waiter if Mr. Dunning was there. The waiter, who was new in his place, said he did not know him. "Not know him!" exclaimed Thurlow, with his usual oaths; "go into the room up stairs, and if you see any gentleman like the knave of clubs, tell him he is particularly wanted." The waiter went up, and forthwith reappeared followed by Dunning.


Delia is twenty-two, and yet so weak,
Poor thing, she's learning still to walk and speak.


Some people were talking with Jerrold about a gentleman as celebrated for the intensity as for the shortness of his friendships.

"Yes," said Jerrold, "his friendships are so warm that he no sooner takes them up than he puts them down again."


A laughable blunder was made by Mrs. Gibbs, at Covent Garden Theatre, in the season of 1823, in the part of Miss Stirling, in "The Clandestine Marriage." When speaking of the conduct of Betty, who had locked the door of Miss Fanny's room, and walked away with the key, Mrs. G. said, "She had locked the key, and carried away the door in her pocket." Mrs. Davenport, as Mrs. Heidelberg, had previously excited a hearty laugh, by substituting for the original dialogue, "I protest there's a candle coming along the gallery with a man in his hand;" but the mistake by Mrs. Gibbs seemed to be so unintentional, so unpremeditated, that the effect was irresistible; and the audience, celebrated the joke with three rounds of applause.


"I am the only man in Europe, sir," said the Colonel,[Pg 99] "that ever had a broken head,—to live after it. I was hunting near my place in Yorkshire; my horse threw me, and I was pitched, head-foremost, upon a scythe which had been left upon the ground. When I was taken up my head was found to be literally cut in two, and was spread over my shoulders like a pair of epaulettes. That was a broken head, if you please, sir."


Two pedestrian travellers, natives of the North, had taken up their quarters for the night at a Highland hotel in Breadalbane: one of them next morning complained to his friend that he had a very indifferent bed, and asked him how he had slept. "Troth, man," replied Donald, "nea vera well, either; but I was muckle better aff than the bugs, for de'il ane of them closed an e'e the hale night!"


Blayney said, in reference to several persons, all relations to each other, but who happened to have no descendants, that "it seemed to be hereditary in their family to have no children."


Counsellor M——t, after he retired from practice, being one day in company where the uncertainty of the law became the topic of conversation, was applied to for his opinion, upon which he laconically observed, "If any man were to claim the coat upon my back, and threaten my refusal with a lawsuit, he should certainly have it, lest in defending my coat I should too late find that I was deprived of my waistcoat also."


When the Archbishop of York sent him from his table an excellent dish of fish, but without drink, said:—

"In a dish came fish
From the arch-bis-
Hop was not there,
Because there was no beer."
[Pg 100]


"Call that a kind man," said an actor, speaking of an absent acquaintance; "a man who is away from his family, and never sends them a farthing! Call that kindness?"

"Yes, unremitting kindness," Jerrold replied.


At Birmingham, one of Kean's "benefits" was a total failure. In the last scene of the play ("A New Way to pay Old Debts"), wherein allusion is made to the marriage of a lady, "Take her, sir," Kean suddenly added, "and the Birmingham audience into the bargain."


A learned doctor has given his opinion that tight lacing is a public benefit, inasmuch as it kills off all the foolish girls, and leaves the wise only to grow into women.


Congreve was disputing a point of fact with a man of a very positive disposition, but one who was not overburdened with sense. The latter said to him, "If the fact is not as I have stated, I'll give you my head."—"I accept it," said Congreve; "for trifles show respect."


A runaway couple were married at Gretna Green. The smith demanded five guineas for his services. "How is this?" said the bridegroom, "the gentleman you last married assured me that he only gave you a guinea."—"True," said the smith, "but he was an Irishman. I have married him six times. He is a good customer, and you I may never see again."


"I remember," says Lord Biden, "Mr. Justice Gould trying a case at York, and when he had proceeded for about two hours, he observed, 'Here are only eleven jurymen[Pg 101] in the box, where is the twelfth?'—'Please you, my lord,' said one of the eleven, 'he has gone away about some other business—but he has left his verdict with me!'"


In a lecture-room of St. John's College, Cambridge, a student one morning, construing the Medea of Euripides came to the following passage:—

Αλλ ουκ αρισοφος ειμι.

To which he gave the proper sense,—

"I am not over-wise;"

but pausing as if he doubted its correctness,—"You are quite right, sir," observed the lecturer; "go on."


'Tis said that walls have ears; if this be true,
St Stephen's walls the gift must often rue.


Jemmy Gordon, the Cambridge eccentric, when he happened to be without shoes or stockings, one day came in contact with a person of very indifferent character. The gentleman, pitying his condition, told him, if he called at his house, he would give him a pair of shoes. "Excuse me, sir," replied Jemmy, assuming a contemptuous air, "I would not stand in your shoes for all the world!"


Fitsmall, who drinks with knights and lords,
To steal a share of notoriety,
Will tell you in important words,
He mixes in the best society.


An old friend of Charles Lamb having been in vain trying to make out a black-letter text of Chaucer in the Temple Library, laid down the precious volume, and with an erudite look told Lamb that "in those old books,[Pg 102] Charley, there is sometimes a deal of very indifferent spelling."


"Did you not on going down find a party in your kitchen?" asked an underbred barrister of a witness. "A tea-party, Mr. ——?" mildly interposed Judge Maule.


An officer advising his general to capture a post, said: "It will only cost a few men."—"Will you make one of the few?" remarked the general.


When Mr. Gulley, the ex-pugilist, was elected Member for Pontefract, Gilbert A'Beckett said: "Should any opposition be manifested in the House of Commons towards Mr. Gulley, it is very probable the noes (nose) will have it."


One day, just as an English officer had arrived at Vienna, the empress knowing that he had seen a certain princess much celebrated for her beauty, asked him if it was really true that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. "I thought so yesterday," he replied.


A late Duke of Norfolk had a fancy for owls, of which he kept several. He called one, from the resemblance to the Chancellor, Lord Thurlow. The duke's solicitor was once in conversation with his grace, when, to his surprise, the owl-keeper came up and said, "Please you, my lord, Lord Thurlow's laid an egg."


Found dead, a rat—no case could sure be harder;
Verdict—Confined a week in Eldon's larder.
Died, Sir Charles Wetherall's laundress, honest Sue;
Verdict—Ennui—so little work to do.
[Pg 103]


A Mr. John Smith, who is described, evidently not without reason, as a "fast" talker, gave the following description of the blowing up of a steamboat on the Mississippi: "I had landed at Helena for a minute to drop some letters into the post-office, when all of a sudden I heard a tremendous explosion, and, looking up, saw that the sky was for a minute darkened with arms, legs, and other small bits and scraps of my fellow-travellers. Amongst an uncommonly ugly medley, I spied the second clerk, about one hundred and fifty feet above my own level. I recognized him at once, for ten minutes before I had been sucking a sherry-cobbler with him out of the same rummer. Well, I watched him. He came down through the roof of a shoemaker's shop, and landed on the floor close by the shoemaker, who was at work. The clerk, being in a hurry, jumped up to go to the assistance of the other sufferers, when the 'man of wax' demanded five hundred dollars for the damage done to his roof. 'Too high,' replied the clerk; 'never paid more than two hundred and fifty dollars in my life, and I've done the same thing often.'"


"Why," said a country clergyman to one of his flock, "do you always sleep in your pew when I am in the pulpit, while you are all attention to every stranger I invite?"—"Because, sir," was the reply, "when you preach I'm sure all's right, but I can't trust a stranger without keeping a good look-out."


Said Wetherall the other night
Of ——: "He's the silliest elf
I ever knew." Sir Charles was right,
For no one ever knows himself.


"Uncle," said a young man (who thought that his guardian supplied him rather sparingly with pocket-money),[Pg 104] "is the Queen's head still on the sovereign?"—"Of course it is, you stupid lad! Why do you ask that?"—"Because it is now such a length of time since I saw one."


Jerry dying intestate, his relatives claimed,
Whilst his widow most vilely his mem'ry defam'd:
"What!" cries she, "must I suffer because the old knave
Without leaving a will, is laid snug in the grave?"
"That's no wonder," says one, "for 'tis very well known,
Since he married, poor man, he'd no will of his own."


Two young officers, after a mess-dinner, had very much ridiculed their general. He sent for them, and asked them if what was reported to him was true. "General," said one of them, "it is; and we should have said much more if our wine had not failed."


Quin thought angling a very barbarous diversion; and on being asked why, gave this reason: "Suppose some superior being should bait a hook with venison, and go a-Quinning, I should certainly bite; and what a sight should I be dangling in the air!"


Sydney Smith was once dining in company with a French gentleman, who had been before dinner indulging in a number of free-thinking speculations, and had ended by avowing himself a materialist. "Very good soup, this," said Mr. Smith. "Oui, monsieur, c'est excellente," was the reply. "Pray, sir, do you believe in a cook?" inquired Mr. Smith.


That he's ne'er known to change his mind,
Is surely nothing strange;
For no one yet could ever find
He'd any mind to change.
[Pg 105]


"Why don't you take off your hat?" said Lord F—— to a boy struggling with a calf. "So I wull, sir," replied the lad; "if your lordship will hold my calf, I'll pull off my hat."


Judge Maule, in summing up a case of libel, and speaking of a defendant who had exhibited a spiteful piety, observed, "One of these defendants, Mr. Blank, is, it seems, a minister of religion—of what religion does not appear, but, to judge by his conduct, it cannot be any form of Christianity." Severe.


A Scotch Minister, after a hard day's labor, and while at a "denner tea," as he called it, kept incessantly praising the "haam," and stating that "Mrs. Dunlop at hame was as fond o' haam like that as he was," when the mistress kindly offered to send her the present of a ham. "It's unco kin' o' ye, unco kin', but I'll no pit ye to the trouble; I'll just tak' it hame on the horse afore me." When, on leaving, he mounted, and the ham was put into a sack, but some difficulty was experienced in getting it to lie properly. His inventive genius soon cut the Gordian-knot. "I think, mistress, a cheese in the ither en' wad mak' a gran' balance." The hint was immediately acted on, and, like another John Gilpin, he moved away with his "balance true."


A certain well-known provincial bore having left a tavern-party, of which Burns was one, the bard immediately demanded a bumper, and, addressing himself to the chairman, said, "I give you the health, gentlemen all, of the waiter that called my Lord —— out of the room."


Says Giles, "My wife and I are two,
Yet, faith, I know not why, sir."
Quoth Jack, "You're ten, if I speak true;
She 's one and you're a cipher."
[Pg 106]


When that vacancy happened on the Exchequer Bench which was afterwards filled by Mr. Adams, the Ministry could not agree among themselves whom to appoint. It was debated in Council, the King, George II., being present; till, the dispute growing very warm, his Majesty put an end to the contest by calling out, in broken English, "I will have none of dese, give me the man wid de dying speech," meaning Mr. Adams, who was then Recorder of London, and whose business it therefore was to make the report to his Majesty of the convicts under sentence of death.


The celebrated Quin had this faculty. "What sort of a morning is it, John?"—"Very wet, sir."—"Any mullet in the market?"—"No, sir."—"Then, John, you may call me this time to-morrow." So saying, he composed himself to sleep, and got rid of the ennui of a dull day.


"I suppose," said a quack, while feeling the pulse of his patient, "that you think me a humbug?"—"Sir," replied the sick man, "I perceive that you can discover a man's thoughts by your touch."


A certain learned serjeant, who is apt to be testy in argument, was advised by the Court not to show temper, but to show cause.


Pope was one evening at Button's coffee-house, where he and a set of literati had got poring over a Latin manuscript, in which they had found a passage that none of them could comprehend. A young officer, who heard their conference, begged that he might be permitted to look at the passage. "Oh," says Pope, sarcastically, "by all means; pray let the young gentleman look at it." Upon which[Pg 107] the officer took up the manuscript, and, considering it a while, said there only wanted a note of interrogation to make the whole intelligible: which was really the case. "And pray, master," says Pope, with a sneer, "what is a note of interrogation?"—"A note of interrogation," replied the young fellow, with a look of great contempt, "is a little crooked thing that asks questions."


One asked another why learning was always called a republic. "Forsooth," quoth the other, "because scholars are so poor that they have not a sovereign amongst them."


An Irish fire-eater, previous to a trial in which he was the defendant, was informed by his counsel, that if there were any of the jury to whom he objected, he might legally challenge them. "Faith, and so I will," replied he; "if they do not acquit me I will challenge every man of them."


When Mr. Naylor's father married his second wife, Naylor said, "Father, they say you are to be married to-day; are you?"—"Well," replied the Bishop, "and what is that to you?"—"Nay, nothing; only if you had told me, I would have powdered my hair."

A tutor at Cambridge had been examining some lads in Latin; but in a little while excused himself, and said he must speak English, for his mouth was very sore.

After going out of the Commons, and fighting a duel with Mr. Chetwynd, whom he wounded, "my uncle" (says Walpole) "returned to the House, and was so little moved as to speak immediately upon the cambric bill;" which made Swinny say, that "it was a sign he was not ruffled."


Murphy was asked how it was so difficult to waken him in the morning: "Indeed, master, it's because of taking[Pg 108] your own advice, always to attind to what I'm about; so whenever I sleeps, I pays attintion to it."


A schoolboy going into the village without leave, his master called after him, "Where are you going, sir?"—"I am going to buy a ha'porth of nails."—"What do you want a ha'porth of nails for?"—"For a halfpenny," replied the urchin.


Lord William Poulat was said to be the author of a pamphlet called "The Snake in the Grass." A gentleman abused in it sent him a challenge. Lord William protested his innocence, but the gentleman insisted upon a denial under his own hand. Lord William took a pen and began: "This is to scratify that the buk called 'The Snak'"—"Oh! my Lord," said the person, "I am satisfied; your Lordship has already convinced me you did not write the book."


A physician once defended himself from raillery by saying, "I defy any person whom I ever attended, to accuse me of ignorance or neglect."—"That you may do safely," replied an auditor, "for you know, doctor, dead men tell no tales."


"When I courted her," said Spreadweasel, "I took lawyer's advice, and signed every letter to my love,—'Yours, without prejudice!'"—D.J.


A wag, on seeing his friend with something under his cloak, asked him what it was. "A poniard," answered he; but he observed that it was a bottle: taking it from him, and drinking the contents, he returned it, saying, "There, I give you the scabbard back again."[Pg 109]


When Lord Eldon resigned the Great Seal, a small barrister said, "To me his loss is irreparable. Lord Eldon always behaved to me like a father."—"Yes," remarked Brougham, "I understand he always treated you like a child."


At a party of college grandees, one of the big-wigs proposed that each gentleman should toast his favorite Belle. When it came to the turn of Dr. Barrett (who happened to be one of the quorum) to be called on for the name of the fair object of his admiration, he very facetiously gave, "The College Bell!" Vivat Collegium Sancti Petri!


When some one was expatiating on the merits of the French language to Mr. Canning, he exclaimed: "Why, what on earth, sir, can be expected of a language which has but one word for liking and loving, and puts a fine woman and a leg of mutton on a par:—J'aime Julie; J'aime un gigot!"


(On the alleged disinterestedness of a certain Prelate.)

He says he don't think of himself,
And I'm to believe him inclined;
For by the confession, the elf
Admits that he's out of his mind.


A country schoolmaster had two pupils, to one of whom he was partial, and to the other severe. One morning it happened that these two boys were late, and were called up to account for it. "You must have heard the bell, boys; why did you not come?"—"Please, sir," said the favorite, "I was dreaming that I was going to Margate, and I thought the school-bell was the steamboat-bell."—"Very well," said the master, glad of any pretext to excuse his favorite. "And now, sir," turning[Pg 110] to the other, "what have you to say?"—"Please, sir," said the puzzled boy, "I—I—was waiting to see Tom off!"


Lord Avondale, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, was much given to anticipation. A lawyer once observed in his presence, "Coming through the market just now I saw a butcher, with his knife, going to kill a calf; at that moment a child ran across him, and he killed ——" "O, my goodness!—he killed the child!" exclaimed his lordship. "No, my lord, the calf; but you will always anticipate."


A lady said to her husband, in Jerrold's presence:—

"My dear, you certainly want some new trousers."—"No, I think not," replied the husband.

"Well," Jerrold interposed, "I think the lady who always wears them ought to know."


A good story of Gibbon is told in the last volume of Moore's Memoirs. The dramatis personæ were Lady Elizabeth Foster, Gibbon the historian, and an eminent French physician,—the historian and doctor being rivals in courting the lady's favor. Impatient at Gibbon's occupying so much of her attention by his conversation, the doctor said crossly to him, "Quand milady Elizabeth Foster sera malade de vos fadaises, je la guérirai." [When my Lady Elizabeth Foster is made ill by your twaddle, I will cure her.] On which Gibbon, drawing himself up grandly, and looking disdainfully at the physician, replied, "Quand milady Elizabeth Foster sera morte de vos recettes, je l'im-mor-taliserai." [When my Lady Elizabeth Foster is dead from your recipes I will immortalize her.]


Among the many English who visited Paris in 1815 was Alderman Wood, who had previously filled the office of[Pg 111] Lord Mayor of London. He ordered a hundred visiting cards, inscribing upon them. "Alderman Wood, feu Lord Maire de Londres," which he distributed amongst people of rank, having translated the word "late" into "feu," which we need hardly state means "dead."


Sir John Germain was so ignorant, that he is said to have left a legacy to Sir Matthew Decker, as the author of St. Matthew's Gospel.

Churchill (General C——, a natural son of the Marlborough family) asked Pulteney the other day, "Well, Mr. Pulteney, will you break me, too?"—"No, Charles," replied he, "you break fast enough of yourself!" Don't you think it hurt him more than the other breaking would?

Walpole was plagued one morning with that oaf of unlicked antiquity, Prideaux, and his great boy. He talked through all Italy, and everything in all Italy. Upon mentioning Stosch, Walpole asked if he had seen his collection. He replied, very few of his things, for he did not like his company; that he never heard so much heathenish talk in his days. Walpole inquired what it was, and found that Stosch had one day said before him, that the soul was only a little glue.


A clergyman, who had to preach before Archbishop Whately, begged to be let off, saying, "I hope your Grace will excuse my preaching next Sunday."—"Certainly," said the other indulgently. Sunday came, and the archbishop said to him, "Well! Mr. ——, what became of you? we expected you to preach to-day."—"Oh, your Grace said you would excuse my preaching to-day."—"Exactly; but I did not say I would excuse you from preaching."


(On Mr. Croker's reputation for being a wag.)

They say his wit's refined! Thus is explained
The seeming mystery—his wit is strained.
[Pg 112]


"What is the difference," asked Archbishop Whately of a young clergyman he was examining, "between a form and a ceremony? The meaning seems nearly the same; yet there is a very nice distinction." Various answers were given. "Well," he said, "it lies in this: you sit upon a form, but you stand upon ceremony."


Some one remarking that the dinner hour was always getting later and later, "Ay," quoth Rogers, "it will soon end in our not dining till to-morrow."


As a wag at a ball, to a nymph on each arm
Alternately turning, and thinking to charm,
Exclaimed in these words, of which Quin was the giver—
"You're my Gizzard, my dear; and, my love, you're my Liver."
"Alas!" cried the Fair on his left—"to what use?
For you never saw either served up with a goose!"


A gentleman dining at a hotel, whose servants were "few and far between," despatched a lad among them for a cut of beef. After a long time the lad returned, and was asked by the faint and hungry gentleman, "Are you the lad who took away my plate for this beef?"—"Yes, sir."—"Bless me," resumed the hungry wit, "how you have grown!"


"Morrow's Library" is the Mudie of Dublin; and the Rev. Mr. Day, a popular preacher. "How inconsistent," said Archbishop Whately, "is the piety of certain ladies here. They go to Day for a sermon and to Morrow for a novel!"


A man was described in a plea as "I. Jones," and the[Pg 113] pleader referred in another part of the plea to "I" as an "initial." The plaintiff said that the plea was bad, because "I" was not a name. Sir W. Maule said that there was no reason why a man might not be christened "I" as well as Isaac, inasmuch as either could be pronounced alone. The counsel for the plaintiff then objected that the plea admitted that "I" was not a name by describing it as "an initial."—"Yes," retorted the judge, "but it does not aver that it is not a final as well as an initial letter."


A man being interrogated on a trial, spoke several words with much impropriety; and at last saying the word curosity, a counsellor exclaimed, "How that fellow murders the English language!"—"Nay," returned another, "he has only knocked an I out."


The late James Fergusson, Clerk of Session, a most genial and amiable man, of whose periodical fits of absence most edifying stories are still repeated by his friends, was an excellent and eloquent speaker, but in truth, there was often more sound than matter in his orations. He had a habit of lending emphasis to his arguments by violently beating with his clenched hand the bar before which he pleaded. Once when stating a case to Lord Polkemmet, with great energy of action, his lordship interposed, and exclaimed, "Maister Jemmy, dinna dunt; ye think ye're duntin't into me, and ye're just duntin't out o' me."


As Dick and Tom in fierce dispute engage,
And, face to face, the noisy contest wage;
"Don't cock your chin at me," Dick smartly cries.
"Fear not—his head's not charged," a friend replies.


A young actor having played a part tolerably well, Elliston one evening called him into the green-room, and[Pg 114] addressed him to this effect: "Young man, you have not only pleased the public, but you have pleased me; and, as a slight token of my regard and good wishes, I beg your acceptance of a small piece of plate." It was, beyond all question, a very small piece, for it was a silver toothpick!


At a dinner-party Archbishop Whately called out suddenly to the host, "Mr. ——!" There was silence. "Mr. ——, what is the proper female companion of this John Dory?" After the usual number of guesses an answer came, "Anne Chovy."


A friend of an artist was endeavoring to persuade him not to bestow so much time upon his works. "You do not know, then," said he, "that I have a master very difficult to please?"—"Who?"—"Myself."


Wilkes, one day in his later life, went to Court, when George III. asked him, in a good-natured tone of banter, how his friend Serjeant Glynn was. Glynn had been one of his most furious partisans. Wilkes replied, with affected gravity, "Nay, sire, don't call Serjeant Glynn a friend of mine; the fellow was a Wilkite, which your Majesty knows I never was."


A person came almost breathless to Lord Thurlow, and exclaimed, "My lord, I bring tidings of calamity to the nation!"—"What has happened, man?" said the astonished Chancellor. "My lord, a rebellion has broken out."—"Where? where?"—"In the Isle of Man."—"In the Isle of Man," repeated the enraged Chancellor. "A tempest in a teapot!"


An honorable member, speaking about the tax on tobacco, somewhat ludicrously called for certain returns.[Pg 115]


A young chaplain had preached a sermon of great length. "Sir," said Lord Mulgrave, bowing to him, "there were some things in your sermon of to-day I never heard before."—"O, my lord!" said the flattered chaplain, "it is a common text, and I could not have hoped to have said anything new on the subject."—"I heard the clock strike twice," said Lord Mulgrave.


"I can't find bread for my family," said a lazy fellow in company. "Nor I," replied an industrious miller; "I am obliged to work for it."


Mr. Alexander, the architect of several fine buildings in the county of Kent, was under cross-examination at Maidstone, by Serjeant (afterwards Baron) Garrow, who wished to detract from the weight of his testimony. "You are a builder, I believe?"—"No, sir: I am not a builder; I am an architect!"—"Ah, well! architect or builder, builder or architect, they are much the same, I suppose?"—"I beg your pardon, sir; I cannot admit that: I consider them to be totally different!"—"O, indeed! perhaps you will state wherein this great difference consists?"—"An architect, sir, prepares the plans, conceives the design, draws out the specifications,—in short, supplies the mind. The builder is merely the bricklayer or the carpenter: the builder, in fact, is the machine,—the architect the power that puts the machine together, and sets it going!"—"O, very well, Mr. Architect, that will do! And now, after your very ingenious distinction without a difference, perhaps you can inform the court who was the architect for the Tower of Babel!"—"There was no architect, sir, and hence the confusion!"


A Bermondsey tanner would often engage,
In a long tête-à-tête with his dame,
[Pg 116] While trotting to town in the Kennington stage,
About giving their villa a name.
A neighbor, thus hearing the skin-dresser talk,
Stole out, half an hour after dark,
Picked up in the roadway a fragment of chalk,
And wrote on the palings,—"Hide Park!"


A conceited young man asked Foote what apology he should make for not being one of a party the day before, to which he had been invited. "O, my dear sir," replied the wit, "say nothing about it, you were not missed."


On Dr. K——'s promotion to the bishopric of Down, an appointment in some quarters unpopular, Archbishop Whately observed, "The Irish government will not be able to stand many more such Knocks Down as this!"


A certain dramatic translator, introducing a well-known comedian to Madame Vestris, said: "Madame, this is Mr. B——, who is not such a fool as he looks."—"True, madame," said the comedian; "and that is the great difference between me and my friend."


During the interregnum after the death of King Charles I., the soldiers were accustomed to visit the theatres and rob the audience, so that it was said to be part of the stage directions,—"Enter the Red Coat: Exeunt Hat and Cloak."


As Jekyll walked out in his gown and his wig,
He happened to tread on a very small pig:
"Pig of science," he said, "or else I'm mistaken,
For surely thou art an abridgment of Bacon."
[Pg 117]


"Pray, sir," said Lady Wallace to David Hume, "I am often asked what age I am; what answer should I make?" Mr. Hume, immediately guessing her ladyship's meaning, said, "Madam, when you are asked that question again, answer that you are not yet come to the years of discretion."


The motto which was inserted under the arms of William, Prince of Orange, on his accession to the English crown, was, Non rapui sed recepi ["I did not steal it, but I received it"]. This being shown to Dean Swift, he said, with a sarcastic smile, "The receiver is as bad as the thief."


(On ——'s declaring his detestation of all meanness).

If really —— do but loathe
Things base or mean, I must confess
I'd very freely take my oath,
Self-love's a fault he don't possess.


"You have already read that section four times, Mr. ——," said Maule to a prosing counsel. "It's iteration! It's ——, I use no epithet, it is iteration;" his look implying the anathema.


Thus, with kind words, Fairface cajoled his friend:
"Dear Dick! on me thou may'st assured depend;
I know thy fortune is but very scant,
But never will I see my friend in want."
Dick soon in gaol, believed his friend would free him;
He kept his word,—in want he ne'er would see him!


When Admiral Cornwallis commanded the Canada, a[Pg 118] mutiny broke out in the ship, on account of some accidental delay in paying the crew. The men signed a round robin, wherein they declared that they would not fire a gun till they were paid. Captain Cornwallis, on receiving this declaration, caused all hands to be called on deck, and thus addressed them: "My lads, the money cannot be paid till we return to port, and as to your not fighting, that is mere nonsense:—I'll clap you alongside the first large ship of the enemy I see, and I know that the Devil himself will not be able to keep you from it." The men all returned to their duty, better satisfied than if they had been paid the money ten times over.


Among a company of cheerful Irishmen, in the neighborhood of St. Giles, it was proposed by the host to make a gift of a couple of fowls to him that, off-hand, should write six lines in poetry of his own composing. Several of the merry crew attempted unsuccessfully to gain the prize. At length the wittiest among them thus ended the contest:—

"Good friends, as I'm to make a po'm,
Excuse me, if I just step home;
Two lines already!—be not cru'l,
Consider, honeys,—I'm a fool.
There's four lines!—now I'll gain the fowls,
With which I soon shall fill my bow'ls."


It is said the Duke of Wellington bought a book of the "Hunchback" at Covent Garden Theatre, for which he gave a pound in gold, refusing to receive the difference. His Grace seemed very ready to sacrifice a sovereign, which he probably would have done had he at the time refused to take no change. The Reform Bill was under consideration.


An Irish crier at Ballinasloe being ordered to clear the court, did so by this announcement: "Now, then, all ye blackguards that isn't lawyers, must lave the coort."[Pg 119]


An old shoemaker in Glasgow was sitting by the bedside of his wife, who was dying. She took him by the hand. "Weel, John, we're gawin to part. I hae been a gude wife to you, John."—"O, just middling, just middling, Jenny," said John, not disposed to commit himself. "John," says she, "ye maun promise to bury me in the auld kirk-yard at Stra'von beside my mither. I couldna rest in peace among unco folk, in the dirt and smoke o' Glasgow."—"Weel, weel, Jenny, my woman," said John soothingly, "we'll just pit you in the Gorbals first, and gin ye dinna lie quiet, we'll try you sine in Stra'von."


Sir Charles Wager always said, "that if a sea-fight lasted three days, he was sure the English suffered the most for the two first, for no other nation would stand beating for two days together."

Yesterday we had another hearing of the petition of the merchants, when Sir Robert Godschall (then Lord Mayor) shone brighter than even his usual. There was a copy of a letter produced, the original being lost; he asked whether the copy had been taken before the original was lost, or after!

This gold-chain came into parliament, cried up for his parts, but proves so dull, one would think he chewed opium. Earl says, "I have heard an oyster speak as well twenty times."


Mr. P——, a candidate for Berkshire, was said to have admitted his want of head, by demanding a poll.


A case of some great offence was tried before Lord Hermand (who was a great toper), and the counsel pleaded extenuation for his client in that he was drunk when he committed the offence. "Drunk!" exclaimed Lord Hermand, in great indignation; "if he could do such[Pg 120] a thing when he was drunk, what might he not have done when he was sober?" evidently implying that the normal condition of human nature and its most hopeful one, was a condition of intoxication.


This case is the strangest we've known in our life,
The husband's a husband, and so is the wife.


The first time Jerrold saw a celebrated song-writer, the latter said to him:—

"Youngster, have you sufficient confidence in me to lend me a guinea?"

Jerrold.—"O yes; I've all the confidence, but I have n't the guinea."


At Portsmouth, during the representation of Richard the Third, on Richard exclaiming, "O, take more pity in thine eyes, and see him here," Miss White, who was in Lady Anne, indignantly exclaimed, "Would they were battle-axes (basilisks) to strike thee dead."


A man being tried for sheep-stealing, evidence was given that he had been seen washing tripe. The counsel for the Crown, in examining the witness, observed with ill-timed indelicacy, "He was washing bowels?"—"Yes, sir."—"The bowels of an animal, I suppose?"—"Yes, sir." The counsel sits down. Justice Maule: "Pray, was it a wren's stomach?"


A hardy seaman, who had escaped one of the recent shipwrecks upon our coast, was asked by a good lady how he felt when the waves broke over him. He replied, "Wet, ma'am,—very wet."[Pg 121]


Mr. James Boswell, the friend and biographer of Dr. Johnson, when a youth, went to the pit of Covent Garden Theatre in company with Dr. Blair, and, in a frolic, imitated the lowing of a cow; and the universal cry in the galleries was, "Encore the cow! Encore the cow!" This was complied with, and, in the pride of success, Mr. Boswell attempted to imitate some other animals, but with less success. Dr. Blair, anxious for the fame of his friend, addressed him thus: "My dear sir, I would confine myself to the cow."


A conceited packman called at a farm-house in the west of Scotland, in order to dispose of some of his wares. The goodwife was startled by his southern accent, and his high talk about York, London, and other big places. "An' whaur come ye frae yersel?" was the question of the gude wife. "Ou! I am from the Border!"—"The Border. Oh! I thocht that; for we aye think the selvidge is the wakest bit o' the wab!"


When the Lord Chancellor Thurlow was supposed to be on no very friendly terms with the Minister (Mr. Pitt), a friend asked the latter how Thurlow drew with them. "I don't know," said the Premier, "how he draws, but he has not refused his oats yet."


(On Lord ——'s delivering his speeches in a sitting position, owing to excessive gout.)

In asserting that Z. is with villany rife,
I very much doubt if the Whigs misreport him;
Since two members attached to his person through life,
Have, on recent occasions, refused to support him.


Lord M—— had a very exalted opinion of his own[Pg 122] cleverness, and once made the following pointed remark: "When I happen to say a foolish thing, I always burst out a laughing!"—"I envy you your happiness, my lord, then," said Charles Townshend, "for you must certainly live the merriest life of any man in Europe."


At a club, of which Jerrold was a member, a fierce Jacobite, and a friend, as fierce, of the cause of William the Third, were arguing noisily, and disturbing less excitable conversationalists. At length the Jacobite, a brawny Scot, brought his fist down heavily upon the table, and roared at his adversary:—

"I tell you what it is, sir, I spit upon your King William!"

The friend of the Prince of Orange was not to be out-mastered by mere lungs. He rose, and roared back to the Jacobite:—

"And I, sir, spit upon your James the Second!"

Jerrold, who had been listening to the uproar in silence, hereupon rung the bell, and shouted:—

"Waiter, spittoons for two!"


Mr. Justice Maule would occasionally tax the powers of country juries. Ex. gr. "Gentlemen," said the judge, "the learned counsel is perfectly right in his law, there is some evidence upon that point; but he's a lawyer, and you're not, and you don't know what he means by some evidence, so I'll tell you. Suppose there was an action on a bill of exchange, and six people swore they saw the defendant accept it, and six others swore they heard him say he should have to pay it, and six others knew him intimately, and swore to his handwriting; and suppose on the other side they called a poor old man who had been at school with the defendant forty years before and had not seen him since, and he said he rather thought the acceptance was not his writing, why there'd be some evidence that it was not, and that's what Mr. —— means in this case." Need we add that the jury retired to consider their verdict?[Pg 123]


A schoolmaster asked one of his scholars in the winter time, what was the Latin for cold. "O sir," answered the lad, "I forget at this moment, although I have it at my fingers' ends."


"Do come and dine with me," said John to Pat: "you must; though I have only a nice piece of beef and some potatoes for you."—"O my dear fellow! don't make the laist apology about the dinner, it's the very same I should have had at home, barrin' the beef."


Counsellor Lamb, an old man when Lord Erskine was in the height of his reputation, was of timid and nervous disposition, usually prefacing his pleadings with an apology to that effect; and on one occasion, when opposed, in some cause, to Erskine, he happened to remark that "he felt himself growing more and more timid as he grew older."—"No wonder," replied the relentless barrister; "every one knows the older a lamb grows, the more sheepish he becomes."


True wit is like the brilliant stone
Dug from Golconda's mine;
Which boasts two various powers in one,
To cut as well as shine.
Genius, like that, if polished right,
With the same gifts abounds;
Appears at once both keen and bright,
And sparkles while it wounds.


A barrister opened a case somewhat confusedly. Mr. Justice Maule interrupted him. "I wish, Mr. ——, you would put your facts in some order; chronological order is the best, but I am not particular. Any order you like—alphabetical order."[Pg 124]


Hatton, who was a considerable favorite at the Haymarket Theatre, and particularly in the part of Jack Junk, was one night at Gosport, performing the character of Barbarossa. In the scene where the tyrant makes love to Zapphira, and reminds her of his services against the enemies of her kingdom, he was at a loss, and could not catch the word from the prompter, when, seeing the house crowded with sailors, and regardless of the gross anachronism, he exclaimed, with all the energy of tragedy—

"Did not I,
By that brave knight Sir Sidney Smith assisted,
And in conjunction with the gallant Nelson,
Drive Bonaparte and his fierce marauders
From Egypt's shores?"

The jolly tars thought that it was all in his part, and cheered the actor with three rounds of applause.


A gentleman having his hair cut, was asked by the garrulous operator "how he would have it done?"—"If possible," replied the gentleman, "in silence."


A master of a ship called out, "Who is below?" A boy answered, "Will, sir."—"What are you doing?"—"Nothing, sir."—"Is Tom there?"—"Yes," said Tom. "What are you doing?"—"Helping Will, sir."


When the comedy of "She Stoops to Conquer" was in rehearsal, Goldsmith took great pains to give the performers his ideas of their several parts. On the first representation he was not a little displeased to hear the representative of Young Marlow play it as an Irishman. As soon as Marlow came off the stage, Goldsmith asked him the meaning of this, as it was by no means intended as an Irish character. "Sir," replied the comedian, "I spoke it as nearly as I could to the manner in which you instructed[Pg 125] me, except that I did not give it quite so strong a brogue."


A toping bookseller presented a check at the banking-house of Sir W. Curtis and Co., and upon the cashier putting the usual question, "How will you have it?" replied, "Cold, without sugar."


An Ayrshire gentleman, when out on the 1st of September, having failed time after time in bringing down a single bird, had at last pointed out to him by his attendant bag-carrier, a large covey, thick and close on the stubbles. "Noo! Mr. Jeems, let drive at them, just as they are!"

Mr. Jeems did let drive, as advised, but all flew off, safe and sound. "Hech, sir (remarks his friend), but ye've made thae yins shift their quarters."


Lord Eldon always pronounced the word lien as though it were lyon; and Sir Arthur Pigot pronounced the same word lean. On this Jekyll wrote the following epigram:—

"Sir Arthur, Sir Arthur, why, what do you mean,
By saying the Chancellor's lion is lean?
D'ye think that his kitchen's so bad as all that,
That nothing within it will ever get fat?"


Says P—l—s, "Why the Bishops are
By nature meant the soil to share,
I'll quickly make you understand;
For can we not deduct with ease,
That nature has designed the seas
Expressly to divide the land?"


During the period Sir Busick Harwood was Professor of Anatomy in the University of Cambridge, he was called[Pg 126] in, in a case of some difficulty, by the friends of a patient, who were anxious for his opinion of the malady. Being told the name of the medical man who had previously prescribed, Sir Busick exclaimed, "He! if he were to descend into the patient's stomach with a candle and lantern, when he ascended he would not be able to name the complaint."


King Henry VIII., designing to send an embassy to Francis I. at a very dangerous juncture, the nobleman selected begged to be excused, saying, "Such a threatening message to so hot a prince as Francis I. might go near to cost him his life."—"Fear not," said old Harry, "if the French king should take away your life, I will take off the heads of a dozen Frenchmen now in my power."—"But of all these heads," replied the nobleman, "there may not be one to fit my shoulders."


The great controversy on the propriety of requiring a subscription to articles of faith, as practised by the Church of England, excited at this time (1772) a very strong sensation amongst the members of the two universities. Paley, when pressed to sign the clerical petition which was presented to the House of Commons for relief, excused himself, saying, "He could not afford to keep a conscience."


A tradesman having dunned a customer for a long time, the debtor at last desired his servant one morning to admit him. "My friend," said he to him, "I think you are a very honest fellow, and I have a great regard for you; therefore, I take this opportunity to tell you, that as I shall never pay you a farthing, you had better go home, mind your business, and don't lose your time by calling here. As for the others, they are a set of vagabonds, for whom I have no affection, and they may waste their time as they please."[Pg 127]


Serjeant Whitaker, one of the most eminent lawyers of his day, was an eccentric. A friend, at one of the assize towns, offered him a bed, and the next morning asked him if he had found himself comfortable and warm. "Yes, madam," replied the serjeant; "yes, pretty well, on the whole. At first I felt a little queer for want of Mrs. Whitaker; but recollecting that my portmanteau was in the room, I threw it behind my back, and it did every bit as well."


A sad mistake was once made at court by the beautiful and celebrated Duchess of Hamilton. Shortly before the death of George II., and whilst he was greatly indisposed, Miss Gunning, upon becoming Duchess of Hamilton, was presented to his majesty. The king, who was particularly pleased with the natural elegance and artlessness of her manner, indulged in a long conversation with her grace. In the course of this tête-à-tête the duchess said, with great animation, "I have seen everything! There is only one thing in this world I wish to see, and I do long so much to see that!" The curiosity of the monarch was so greatly excited to know what this wonderful thing could be, that he eagerly asked her what it was. "A coronation," replied the thoughtless duchess; nor was she at all conscious of the mistake she had made, till the king took her hand with a sigh, and with a melancholy expression replied, "I apprehend you have not long to wait; you will soon have your wish." Her grace was overwhelmed with confusion.


Hook was once observed, during dinner, nodding like a Chinese mandarin in a tea-shop. On being asked the reason, he replied, "Why when no one else asks me to take champagne, I take sherry with the épergne, and bow to the flowers."[Pg 128]


Upon its lofty column's stand
Napoleon takes his place:
His back still turned upon that land
That never saw his face.


A gentleman in company with Foote, took up a newspaper, saying, "He wanted to see what the ministry were about." Foote, with a smile, replied, "Look among the robberies."


A lazy fellow lying down on the grass said, "O, how I do wish that this was called work, and well paid!"


In spite of the ill-founded contempt Dr. Johnson professed to entertain for actors, he persuaded himself to treat Mrs. Siddons with great politeness, and said, when she called on him at Bolt Court, and Frank, his servant, could not immediately provide her with a chair, "You see, madam, wherever you go there are no seats to be got."


"We row in the same boat, you know," said a literary friend to Jerrold. This literary friend was a comic writer, and a comic writer only. Jerrold replied, "True, my good fellow, we do row in the same boat, but with very different skulls."


Sir Boyle Roche said, "Single misfortunes never come alone, and the greatest of all possible misfortunes is generally followed by a much greater."[Pg 129]


In the last illness of George Colman, the doctor being late in an appointment, apologized to his patient, saying that he had been called in to see a man who had fallen down a well. "Did he kick the bucket, doctor?" groaned out poor George.


(On ——'s late neglect of his judicial duties.)

Lord ——'s left his circuit for a day,
Which is to me a mystery profound;
He leaves the circuit! he, of whom they say,
That he delights in constant turning round.


Dignum and Moses Kean the mimic were both tailors. Charles Bannister met them under the Piazza in Covent Garden, arm-in-arm. "I never see those men together," said he, "but they put me in mind of Shakespeare's comedy, Measure for Measure!"


There had been a carousing party at Colonel Grant's, the late Lord Seafield, and two Highlanders were in attendance to carry the guests up stairs, it being understood that none could by any other means arrive at their sleeping apartments. One or two of the guests, however, were walking up stairs and declined the proffered assistance. The attendants were utterly astonished, and indignantly exclaimed, "Aigh, it's sare cheenged times at Castle Grant, when gentlemens can gang to bed on their ain feet."


A gentleman was applied to by a crossing-sweeper for charity. The gentleman replied, "I will remember you when I return."—"Please your honor," says the man, "I'm ruined by the credit I give in that way."[Pg 130]


A farmer, having lost some ducks, was asked by the counsel for the prisoner accused of stealing them to describe their peculiarity. After he had done so, the counsel remarked, "They can't be such a rare breed, as I have some like them in my yard."—"That's very likely," said the farmer; "these are not the only ducks of the same sort I've had stolen lately."


A regular physician being sent for by a quack, expressed his surprise at being called in on an occasion apparently trifling. "Not so trifling, neither," replied the quack; "for, to tell you the truth, I have, by mistake, taken some of my own pills."


Mr. Philip Thicknesse, father of the late Lord Audley, being in want of money, applied to his son for assistance. This being denied, he immediately hired a cobbler's stall, directly opposite his lordship's house, and put up a board, on which was inscribed, in large letters, "Boots and shoes mended in the best and cheapest manner, by Philip Thicknesse, father of Lord Audley." His lordship took the hint, and the board was removed.


Queen Caroline, when Princess of Wales, in one of her shrewd letters, says, "My better half, or my worse, which you choose, has been ill, I hear, but nothing to make me hope or fear."


After giving Sandy certain directions about kirk matters, the minister sniffed once or twice, and remarked, "Saunders, I fear you have been 'tasting' (taking a glass) this morning."—"'Deed, sir," replied Sandy, with the coolest effrontery, set off with a droll glance of his brown eyes; "'Deed, sir, I was just ga'in' to observe I thocht there was a smell o' speerits amang us this mornin'!"[Pg 131]


A watch lost in a tavern! That's a crime;
Then see how men by drinking lose their time.
The watch kept time; and if time will away,
I see no reason why the watch should stay.
You say the key hung out, and you failed to lock it;
Time will not be kept pris'ner in a pocket.
Henceforth, if you will keep your watch, this do,
Pocket your watch, and watch your pocket, too.


An old lady was in the habit of talking to Jerrold in a gloomy depressing manner, presenting to him only the sad side of life. "Hang it!" said Jerrold, one day, after a long and sombre interview, "she wouldn't allow there was a bright side to the moon."


A man bought a horse on condition that he should pay half down, and be in debt for the remainder. A short time after, the seller demanding payment of the balance, the other answered, "No; it was agreed that I should be in your debt for the remainder; how can that be if I pay it?"


If it be true that the heads of the country should set religious example to their inferiors, the E—— of R——, in his observance of one of the commandments, is a pattern to the community; for, not only on the Sabbath, but through the week, he takes care as Postmaster-General to do no manner of work.


Some person remarked to him that apothecaries bore the same relation to physicians that attorneys do to barristers. "So they do," said Sterne; "but apothecaries and attorneys are not alike, for the latter do not deal in scruples."[Pg 132]


Mr. Sergeant Parry, in illustration of a case, told the following anecdote:—

Some merchants went to an Eastern sovereign, and exhibited for sale several very fine horses. The king admired them, and bought them; he, moreover, gave the merchants a lac of rupees to purchase more horses for him. The king one day, in a sportive humor, ordered the vizier to make out a list of all the fools in his dominions. He did so, and put his Majesty's name at the head of them. The king asked why. He replied, "Because you entrusted a lac of rupees to men you don't know, and who will never come back."—"Ay, but suppose they should come back?"—"Then I shall erase your name and insert theirs."


A juryman, kept several days at his own expense, sent a friend to the judge to complain that he had been paid nothing for his attendance. "O, tell him," said the witty judge, "that if ever he should have to go before a jury himself he will get one for nothing."


"The friends and opponents of the Bill," said a'Beckett, "are divided into two very distinct classes,—the a-bility and the no-bility."


King James had two comedies acted before him, the one at Cambridge, the other at Oxford; that at Cambridge was called Ignoramus, an ingenious thing, wherein one Mr. Sleep was a principal actor; the other at Oxford was but a dull piece, and therein Mr. Wake was a prime actor. Which made his Majesty merrily to say, that in Cambridge one Sleep made him wake, and in Oxford one Wake made him sleep.


Great Bulwer's works fell on Miss Basbleu's head,
And in a moment, lo! the maid was dead!
[Pg 133] A jury sat, and found the verdict plain—
"She died of milk and water on the brain."


A thin old man, with a rag-bag in his hand, was picking up a number of small pieces of whalebone which lay on the street. The deposit was of such a singular nature, that we asked the quaint-looking gatherer how he supposed they came there. "Don't know," he replied, in a squeaking voice; "but I 'spect some unfortunate female was wrecked hereabout somewhere."


A good instance of absence of mind was an editor quoting from a rival paper one of his own articles, and heading it, "Wretched Attempt at Wit."


A person desirous of impressing Lord Ellenborough with his importance, said, "I sometimes employ myself as a doctor."—"Very likely," remarked his lordship; "but is any one fool enough to employ you in that capacity?"


We are told that a member for old Sarum (consisting of one large mansion) was once in danger of being pelted with stones; he would have found it hard to have been assailed with his own constituents.


An old lady who lived not far from Abbotsford, and from whom the "Great Unknown" had derived many an ancient tale, was waited upon one day by the author of "Waverley." On Scott endeavoring to conceal the authorship, the old dame protested, "D'ye think, sir, I dinna ken my ain groats in ither folk's kail?"


When Jeremy Taylor was introduced to the Archbishop[Pg 134] of Canterbury, he was told by the prelate, that his extreme youth was a bar to his present employment. "If your grace," replied Taylor, "will excuse me this fault, I promise, if I live, to mend it."


(On the sincerity of a certain prelate.)

—— ——'s discourses from his heart
Proceed, as everybody owns;
And thus they prove the poet's art,
Who says that "sermons are in stones."


A young fellow, very confident in his abilities, lamented one day that he had lost all his Greek. "I believe it happened at the same time, sir," said Dr. Johnson, "that I lost all my large estate in Yorkshire."


An attorney on being called to account for having acted unprofessionally in taking less than the usual fees from his client, pleaded that he had taken all the man had. He was thereupon honorably acquitted.


"Why, Mr. B.," said a tall youth to a little person who was in company with half-a-dozen huge men, "I protest you are so very small I did not see you before."

"Very likely," replied the little gentleman; "I am like a sixpence among six copper pennies,—not easily perceived, but worth the whole of them."


Says Kemble to Lewis, "Pray what is your play?"
Cries Lewis to Kemble, "The Lie of the Day!"
"Say you so?" replied Kemble; "why, we act the same;
But to cozen the town we adopt a new name;
For that Vortigern's Shakespeare's we some of us say,
Which you very well know is a lie of the day."
[Pg 135]


Lamb and Coleridge were talking together on the incidents of Coleridge's early life, when he was beginning his career in the church, and Coleridge was describing some of the facts in his usual tone, when he paused, and said, "Pray, Mr. Lamb, did you ever hear me preach?"—"I never heard you do anything else!" said Lamb.


A very stupid foreman asked a judge how they were to ignore a bill. "Write Ignoramus for self and fellows on the back of it," said Curran.


Dr. Balguy, a preacher of great celebrity, after having preached an excellent discourse at Winchester Cathedral, the text of which was, "All wisdom is sorrow," received the following elegant compliment from Dr. Wharton, then at Winchester school:—

If what you advance, dear doctor, be true,
That "wisdom is sorrow," how wretched are you.


A comedian at Covent Garden advised one of the scene-shifters, who had met with an accident, to try a subscription; and a few days afterwards he asked for the list of names, which, when he had read over, he returned. "Why, sir," says the poor fellow, "won't you give me something?"—"Why, zounds, man," replied the comedian, "didn't I give you the hint?"


A certain Lord Mayor hearing of a gentleman who had had the small-pox twice, and died of it, asked, if he died the first time or the second.


When Dido mourned, Æneas would not come,
She wept in silence, and was Di-Do-Dumb.
[Pg 136]


A creditor, whom he was anxious to avoid, met Sheridan coming out of Pall Mall. There was no possibility of avoiding him, but he did not lose his presence of mind. "That's a beautiful mare you are on!" said Sheridan. "Do you think so?"—"Yes, indeed! how does she trot?" The creditor, highly flattered, put her into full trot. Sheridan bolted round the corner, and was out of sight in a moment.


Sir Frederick Flood had a droll habit, of which he could never effectually break himself. Whenever a person at his back whispered or suggested anything to him whilst he was speaking in public, without a moment's reflection, he always repeated the suggestion literatim. Sir Frederick was once making a long speech in the Irish Parliament, lauding the transcendent merits of the Wexford magistracy, on a motion for extending the criminal jurisdiction in that county, to keep down the disaffected. As he was closing a most turgid oration by declaring "that the said magistracy ought to receive some signal mark of the Lord-Lieutenant's favor," John Egan, who was rather mellow, and sitting behind him, jocularly whispered, "and be whipped at the cart's tail."—"And be whipped at the cart's tail!" repeated Sir Frederick unconsciously, amidst peals of uncontrollable laughter.


King James used to say, that he never knew a modest man make his way in a court. As he was repeating this expression one day, a David Floyd, who was then in waiting at his Majesty's elbow, replied bluntly, "Pray, sir, whose fault is that!" The king stood corrected, and was silent.


Sir James Scarlett, when at the Bar, had to cross-examine a witness whose evidence it was thought would be very damaging, unless he could be bothered a little, and[Pg 137] his only vulnerable point was said to be his self-esteem. The witness presented himself in the box,—a portly, overdressed person,—and Scarlett took him in hand.

Q. Mr. John Tomkins, I believe?

A. Yes.

Q. You are a stock-broker?

A. I ham!

Scarlett regarded him attentively for a few moments, and then said: "And a very fine, well-dressed ham you are, sir?"

The shouts of laughter which followed completely disconcerted the witness, and the counsel's point was gained.


In the days of Charles II., candidates for holy orders were expected to respond in Latin to the various interrogatories put to them by the bishop or his examining chaplain. When the celebrated Dr. Isaac Barrow (who was fellow of Trinity College, and tutor to the immortal Newton) had taken his bachelor's degree, he presented himself before the bishop's chaplain, who, with the stiff stern visage of the times, said to Barrow,—

"Quid est fides?" (What is faith?)

"Quod non vides" (What thou dost not see),

answered Barrow with the utmost promptitude. The chaplain, a little vexed at Barrow's laconic answer, continued,—

"Quid est spes?" (What is hope?)

"Magna res" (A great thing),

replied the young candidate in the same breath.

"Quid est charitas?" (What is charity?)

was the next question.

"Magna raritas" (A great rarity),

was again the prompt reply of Barrow, blending truth and rhyme with a precision that staggered the reverend examiner, who went direct to the bishop and told him that a young Cantab had thought proper to give rhyming answers to three several moral questions, and added that he believed[Pg 138] his name was Barrow, of Trinity College, Cambridge. "Barrow, Barrow!" said the bishop, who well knew the literary and moral worth of the young Cantab, "if that's the case, ask him no more questions, for he is much better qualified," continued his lordship, "to examine us than we him." Barrow received his letters of orders forthwith.


"Pistor erat quondam, laborando qui fregit collum:
Qui fregit collum, collum fregitque suum."

Thus translated—

"There was a baker heretofore, with labor and great pain:
Did break his neck, and break his neck, and break his neck again."


A mad Quaker belongs to a small and rich sect; and is, therefore, of greater importance than any other mad person of the same degree in life.


A malefactor, under sentence of death, pretending that he was related to him, on that account petitioned Lord Chancellor Bacon for a reprieve. To which petition his lordship answered, "that he could not possibly be Bacon till he had first been hung."


Said vain Andrew Scalp, "My initials, I guess,
Are known, so I sign all my poems, A.S."
Said Jerrold, "I own you're a reticent youth,
For that's telling only two thirds of the truth."


Jerrold said to an ardent young gentleman, who burned with a desire to see himself in print, "Be advised by me, young man: don't take down the shutters before there is something in the window."[Pg 139]


Joe Haines was more remarkable for his practical jokes than for his acting. He was seized one morning by two bailiffs, for a debt of 20l., as the Bishop of Ely was passing by in his coach. "Gentlemen," said Joe, "here's my cousin the Bishop of Ely going by his house; let me but speak to him, and he'll pay the debt and charges." The bailiffs thought they might venture this, as they were within three or four yards of him. Joe went boldly up to the coach, and pulled his hat off to the bishop. His lordship ordered the coach to stop, when Joe whispered him gently, "My lord, here are two men who have such great scruples of conscience, that I fear they'll hang themselves."—"Very well," said the bishop; so, calling to the bailiffs, he said, "You two men come to me to-morrow morning, and I will satisfy you." The men bowed, and went away pleased. Early on the following day, the bailiffs, expecting the debt and charges, paid a visit to the bishop; when, being introduced, his lordship addressed them. "Well, my men, what are your scruples of conscience?"—"Scruples!" echoed the bailiff; "we have no scruples. We are bailiffs, my lord, who yesterday arrested your cousin, Joe Haines, for a debt of 20l.; and your lordship kindly promised to satisfy us to-day." The bishop, reflecting that his honor and name would be exposed were he not to comply, paid the debt and charges.


Some gentlemen talking on the inattention of writers to punctuation, it was observed that the lawyers used no stops in their writings. "I should not mind that," said one of the party, "but they put no periods to their works."


Lord Bottetot, in passing through Gloucester, soon after the cider tax, in which he was very unpopular, observing himself burning in effigy, he stopped his coach, and giving a purse of guineas to the mob, said, "Pray, gentlemen, if you will burn me, burn me like a gentleman; do not let me linger; I see you have not faggots enough." This[Pg 140] good-humored speech appeased the people, who gave him three cheers, and let him pass.


There is a very general notion, that if you once suffer women to eat of the tree of knowledge, the rest of the family will very soon be reduced to the same kind of aerial and unsatisfactory diet.


Porson, once conversing with a party of congenial friends, seemed at a loss for something to cheer the inward man, and drawing his glass mechanically towards him, he took up one bottle, and then another, without finding wherewithal to replenish. A friend observing this, he inquired what the professor was in search of. "Only a-liquid!" answered Porson.


The following playful colloquy in verse took place at a dinner-table between Sir George Rose and James Smith, in allusion to Craven Street, Strand, where he resided:—

J.S.—"At the top of the street ten attorneys find place,
And ten dark coal barges are moored:
Fly, honesty, fly, to some safer retreat,
For there's craft in the river, and craft in the street."
Sir G.R.—"Why should Honesty fly to some safer retreat,
From attorneys and barges, od rot 'em?
For the attorneys are just at the top of the street,
And the barges are just at the bottom."


Jerrold and a company of literary friends were out in the country. In the course of their walk, they stopped to notice the gambols of an ass's foal. A very sentimental poet present vowed that he should like to send the little[Pg 141] thing as a present to his mother. "Do," Jerrold replied, "and tie a piece of paper round its neck, bearing this motto,—'When this you see, remember me.'"


The Duke of Norfolk of Foote's time was much addicted to the bottle. On a masquerade night, he asked Foote what new character he should go in. "Go sober!" said Foote.


Dr. Macknight, who was a better commentator than preacher, having been caught in a shower of rain, entered the vestry soaked with wet. As the time drew on for divine service he became much distressed, and ejaculated over and over, "O, I wish that I was dry! Do you think I'm dry? Do you think I'm dry eneuch noo?" To this his jocose colleague, Dr. Henry, the historian, returned: "Bide a wee, doctor, and ye'se be dry eneuch when ye get into the pu'pit."


A certain Scotchman, who is not a member of any temperance society, being asked by a dealer to purchase some fine old Jamaica, dryly answered, "To tell you the truth, Mr. ——, I canna' say I'm very fond of rum; for if I tak' mair than six tum'lers, it's very apt to gi'e me a headache."


Perhaps the best concentrated specimen of blunders, such as occur in all nations, but which, of course, are fathered upon Paddy wholesale, as if by common consent, is the following:—

Copy of a Letter, written during the Rebellion by Sir ——, an Irish Member of Parliament, to his friend in London.

My dear Sir,—

Having now a little peace and quietness, I sit down to inform you of the dreadful bustle and confusion we are[Pg 142] in from these blood-thirsty rebels, most of whom are, I'm glad to say, killed and dispersed. We are in a pretty mess, can get nothing to eat, nor wine to drink, except whiskey, and when we sit down to dinner we are obliged to keep both hands armed. Whilst I write this, I hold a sword in each hand and a pistol in the other. I concluded from the beginning that this would be the end of it, and I see I was right, for it is not half over yet. At present there are such goings on that everything is at a standstill. I should have answered your letter a fortnight ago, but I did not receive it till this morning. Indeed, scarcely a mail arrives safe without being robbed. No longer ago than yesterday the coach with the mails from Dublin was robbed near this town; the bags had been judiciously left behind for fear of accident, and by good luck there was nobody in it but two outside passengers, who had nothing for the thieves to take. Last Thursday notice was given that a gang of rebels was advancing here under the French standard, but they had no colors, nor any drums except bagpipes. Immediately every man in the place, including women and children, ran out to meet them. We soon found our force much too little; we were far too near to think of retreating. Death was in every face, but to it we went, and, by the time half our little party were killed, we began to be all alive again. Fortunately the rebels had no guns, except pistols, cutlasses, and pikes, and as we had plenty of muskets and ammunition, we put them all to the sword. Not a soul of them escaped, except some that were drowned in an adjacent bog, and, in a very short time, nothing was to be heard but silence. Their uniforms were all different colors, but mostly green. After the action we went to rummage a sort of camp, which they had left behind them. All we found was a few pikes, without heads, a parcel of empty bottles full of water, and a bundle of French commissions filled up with Irish names. Troops are now stationed all round the country, which exactly squares with my ideas.

I have only time to add that I am in great haste.

Yours truly,        
—— ——.

P.S.—If you do not receive this, of course it must have miscarried, therefore I beg you will write to let me know.[Pg 143]


(Spoken between the Third and Fourth Acts of Cowley's Tragedy "The Fall of Sparta.")

So great thy art, that while we viewed,
Of Sparta's sons the lot severe,
We caught the Spartan fortitude,
And saw their woes without a tear!


So ungrateful was the sound of "Wilkes and No. 45" (the famous number of the "North Briton") to George III., that about 1772, George IV., then a mere boy, having been chid for some fault, and wishing to take his boyish revenge, stole to the king's apartment, and shouting at the door, "Wilkes and No. 45 for ever!" ran away.


A great drinker being at table, they offered him grapes at dessert. "Thank you!" said he, pushing back the plate, "I don't take my wine in pills!"


It's a great comfort for timid men, that beauty, like the elephant, doesn't know its strength. Otherwise, how it would trample upon us!—D.J.


At Glasgow forty years ago, when the time had come for the bowl to be introduced, some jovial and thirsty member of the company proposed as a toast, "The trade of Glasgow and the outward bound;" the hint was taken, and silks and satins moved off to the drawing-room.


While the "Beggar's Opera" was under rehearsal at the Haymarket Theatre, in 1823, Miss Paton, who was to play the part of Polly, expressed a wish to sing the air of "The Miser thus a Shilling sees," a note higher; to which the stage-manager immediately replied, "Then, Miss, you must sing, 'The Miser thus a Guinea sees.'"[Pg 144]


An actor, on his benefit night, having a very limited audience, when he came to the often-quoted passage, "'Tis not in mortals to command success, We'll do more, Sempronius—we'll deserve it," heaved a deep sigh, and substituted for the last line, "We'll do more, Sempronius,—we'll do without it."


Delpini had repeatedly applied to the Prince of Wales to speak to the Lord Chamberlain to grant him a license for a play at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket, always pleading poverty: at last, when he once met his Royal Highness coming out of Carlton House, he exclaimed, "Ah, votre Altesse! mon Prince! If you do not speak to Milor Chamberlain for pauvre Delpini, I must go to your papa's bench."


A little girl playing at the game of "I love my love with an A," &c., having arrived at the letter Z, displayed her orthographical acquirements by taking her lover to the sign of the Zebra, and treating him to Zeidlitz powders.


Very pure folks won't be held up to the light and shown to be very dirty bottles, without paying back hard abuse for the impertinence.


We have to congratulate the Right Honorable Lord Brougham on the following piece of intelligence: "Yarn has risen one farthing a pound." His lordship's long speeches are of course at a premium.—G. a'B.


Westmacott, of the Age paper, having libelled a gentleman, was well thrashed for his pains. Declaring afterwards that he would have justice done him, a person[Pg 145] present remarked, "That has been done already." A similar story is told of Voltaire and the Regent of France.


The most celebrated wits and bon vivants of the day graced the dinner-table of the late Dr. Kitchener, and, inter alia, the late George Colman, who was an especial favorite; his interpolation of a little monosyllable in a written admonition which the Doctor caused to be placed on the mantlepiece of the dining parlor will never be forgotten, and was the origin of such a drinking bout as was seldom permitted under his roof. The caution ran thus: "Come at seven, go at eleven." Colman briefly altered the sense of it; for, upon the Doctor's attention being directed to the card, he read, to his astonishment, "Come at seven, go it at eleven!" which the guests did, and the claret was punished accordingly.


Jerrold said to a very thin man, "Sir, you are like a pin, but without the head or the point."


When Foote was at Salt Hill, he dined at the Castle Inn, and when Partridge, the host, produced his bill, which was rather exorbitant, the comedian asked him his name. "Partridge, sir," said he. "Partridge! It should have been Woodcock, by the length of your bill!"


When a noble Admiral of the White, well known for his gallant spirit, his gentlemanly manners, and real goodness of heart, was introduced to William the Fourth, to return thanks for his promotion, the cheerful and affable monarch, looking at his hair, which was almost as white as the newly-fallen snow, jocosely exclaimed, "White at the main, Admiral! white at the main!"


Two silly brothers, twins, who were very much about[Pg 146] town in Theodore Hook's time, took pains, by dressing alike, to deceive their friends as to their identity. Tom Hill (the original of Paul Pry) was expatiating upon these modern Dromios, at which Hook grew impatient. "Well," said Hill, "you will admit they resemble each other wonderfully: they are as like as two peas."—"They are," retorted Hook, "and quite as green."


This celebrated actor was, perhaps, in no part so excellent as that of Romeo, for which he was particularly fitted by an uncommonly handsome and commanding person, and a silver-toned voice. At the time that he attracted the town to Covent Garden by his excellent performance of his part, Garrick found it absolutely necessary to divide the attention of the public by performing Romeo himself at Drury Lane. He wanted the natural advantages of Barry, and, great as he was, would, perhaps, have willingly avoided such a contention. This, at least, seems to have been a prevailing opinion; for in the garden scene, when Juliet in soliloquy exclaims, "O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" an auditor archly replied, aloud, "Because Barry has gone to the other house."


Mr. Hare, formerly the envoy to Poland, had apartments in the same house with Mr. Fox, and like his friend Charles, had frequent visits from bailiffs. One morning, as he was looking out of his window, he observed two of them at the door. "Pray, gentlemen," says he, "are you Fox hunting, or Hare hunting this morning?"


The amiable Mrs. W—— always insists that her friends who take grog shall mix equal quantities of spirits and water, though she never observes the rule for herself. A writer of plays having once made a glass under her directions, was asked by the lady, "Pray, sir, is it As you like it?"—"No, madam," replied the dramatist; "it is Measure for Measure."[Pg 147]


Jonathan and his friend Paddy were enjoying a delightful ride, when they came in sight of what is very unusual in any civilized state now-a-days—an old gallows or gibbet. This suggested to the American the idea of being witty at the expense of his Irish companion. "You see that, I calculate," said he nasally, pointing to the object just mentioned; "and now where would you be if the gallows had its due?"—"Riding alone," coolly replied Paddy.


Several publicans being assembled at Malton, in Yorkshire, in order to renew their licenses to retail beer, the worthy magistrate addressed one of them (an old woman), and said he trusted she did not put any pernicious ingredients into the liquor; to which she immediately replied: "I'll assure your worship there's naught pernicious put into our barrels that I know of, but the exciseman's stick."


"I wonder if Brougham thinks as much as he talks,"
Said a punster perusing a trial;
"I vow, since his lordship was made Baron Vaux,
He's been Vaux et præterea nihil."


A sexton in Salisbury Cathedral was telling Charles Lamb that eight people had dined at the pointed top of the spire; upon which Lamb remarked that they must have been very sharp set.


Dr. Barton, being in company with Dr. Nash, who had just printed two heavy folios on the antiquities of Worcestershire, remarked that the publication was deficient in several respects, adding, "Pray, doctor, are you not a justice of the peace?"—"I am," replied Nash. "Then," said Barton, "I advise you to send your work to the house of correction."[Pg 148]


As Liston lay wrapt in delicious repose,
Most harmoniously playing a tune with his nose,
In a dream there appeared the adorable Venus,
Who said, "To be sure there's no likeness between us;
Yet to show a celestial to kindness so prone is,
Your looks shall soon rival the handsome Adonis."
Liston woke in a fright, and cried, "Heaven preserve me!
If my face you improve, zounds! madam, you'll starve me!"


A well-known lawyer, Mr. Marryatt, who declared he had never opened any book after he left school but a law book, once told a jury, when speaking of a chimney on fire: "Gentlemen, the chimney took fire; it poured forth volumes of smoke! Volumes, did I say? Whole encyclopædias!" Mr. Marryatt is said to have applied for two mandami.


Douglas Jerrold, discussing one day with Mr. Selby, the vexed question of adapting dramatic pieces from the French, that gentleman insisted upon claiming some of his characters as strictly original creations. "Do you remember my Baroness in Ask no Questions?" said Mr. S. "Yes, indeed. I don't think I ever saw a piece of yours without being struck by your barrenness," was the retort.


Hymen comes when he is called, and Love when he pleases.


A former laird of Brotherton was on all occasions a man of few words. He had a favorite tame goose, and for hours together Brotherton and his silent companion sat by the fireside opposite to each other. On one occasion a candidate for the representation of the county in Parliament called upon him to solicit his vote, and urged his request[Pg 149] with much eloquence; to all which the laird replied only by nods and smiles, without saying a word. When, however, the candidate was gone, he looked across to his goose, and emphatically remarked, "I'm thinkin' yon windy chiel'll no tell muckle that you and I said till him."


Mr. John Clerk, in pleading before the House of Lords one day, happened to say, in his broadest Scotch accent, "In plain English, ma Lords;" upon which Lord Eldon jocosely remarked, "In plain Scotch, you mean, Mr. Clerk." The prompt advocate instantly rejoined, "Na matter! in plain common sense, ma Lords, and that's the same in a' languages, ye'll ken."


A farmer, in a stage-coach with Charles Lamb, kept boring him to death with questions in the jargon of agriculturists about crops. At length he put a poser—"And pray, sir, how are turnips t'year?"—"Why that, sir," stammered out Lamb, "will depend upon the boiled legs of mutton."


Peterson the comedian lent a brother actor two shillings, and when he made a demand for the sum, the debtor, turning peevishly from him, said, "Hang it! I'll pay you to-day in some shape or other." Peterson good-humoredly replied, "I shall be much obliged to you, Tom, to let it be as like two shillings as you can."


The lawyer's house, if I have rightly read,
Is built upon the fool or madman's head.


Colonel B—— was remarkably fat, and coming one night out of the playhouse, called a chair; but while he was preparing to squeeze into it, a friend, who was stepping[Pg 150] into his chariot, called out to him, "B——, I go by your door, and will set you down." B—— gave the chairman a shilling, and was going; when one of them scratched his head, and hoped his honor would give him more than a shilling. "For what, you scoundrel? when I never got into your chair?"—"But consider the fright your honor put us into," replied Pat,—"consider the fright!"


This celebrated Quaker, on visiting a lady of rank, whom he found six months after the death of her husband, sitting on a sofa covered with black cloth, and in all the dignity of woe, approached her with great solemnity, and gently taking her by the hand, thus accosted her: "So friend, I see that thou hast not yet forgiven God Almighty." This seasonable reproof had such an effect upon the person to whom it was addressed, that she immediately laid aside her trappings of grief, and went about her necessary business and avocations.


A young fellow once offered to kiss a Quakeress. "Friend," said she, "thee must not do it."—"O, by Jove! but I must," said the youth. "Well, friend, as thee hast sworn, thee may do it, but thee must not make a practice of it."


When Abernethy was canvassing for the office of surgeon to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, he called upon a rich grocer. The great man, addressing him, said, "I suppose, sir, you want my vote and interest at this momentous epoch of your life."—"No, I don't," said Abernethy. "I want a pennyworth of figs; come, look sharp and wrap them up; I want to be off!"


Sir Charles Lyell, when in the United States, received the following advice from a friend: "When[Pg 151] you are racing with an opposition steam-boat, or chasing her, and the other passengers are cheering the captain, who is sitting on the safety-valve to keep it down with his weight, go as far as you can from the engine, and lose no time, especially if you hear the captain exclaim, 'Fire up, boys! put on the resin!' Should a servant call out, 'Those gentlemen who have not paid their passage will please to go to the ladies' cabin,' obey the summons without a moment's delay, for then an explosion may be apprehended. 'Why to the ladies' cabin?' said I. Because it is the safe end of the boat, and they are getting anxious for the personal security of those who have not yet paid their dollars, being, of course, indifferent about the rest. Therefore never pay in advance; for should you fall overboard during a race, and the watch cries out to the captain, 'A passenger overboard,' he will ask, 'Has he paid his passage?' and if he receives an answer in the affirmative, he will call out 'Go ahead!'"


Sir James Mackintosh invited Dr. Parr to take a drive in his gig. The horse became restive. "Gently, Jemmy," says the doctor, "don't irritate him; always soothe your horse, Jemmy. You'll do better without me. Let me down, Jemmy." Once on terra-firma, the doctor's view of the case was changed. "Now, Jemmy, touch him up. Never let a horse get the better of you. Touch him up, conquer him, don't spare him; and now, I'll leave you to manage him—I'll walk back."


Longfellow, the poet, was introduced to one Longworth, and some one noticed the similarity of the first syllable of the names. "Yes," said the poet, "but in this case I fear Pope's line will apply,—'Worth makes the man, the want of it the fellow.'"


A saddle being missing at a funeral, it was observed, no wonder that nothing was heard of it, for it is believed to have been stolen by a mute.[Pg 152]


A young man (placed by his friends as a student at a veterinary college) being in company with some of his colleagues, was asked, "If a broken-winded horse were brought to him for cure, what he would advise?" After considering for a moment, "Advise," said he, "I should advise the owner to sell as soon as possible."


Soon after Canning's statue was put up in Palace Yard, in all its verdant freshness, the carbonate of copper not yet blackened by the smoke of London, Mr. Justice Gazelee was walking away from Westminster Hall with a friend, when the judge, looking at the statue (which is colossal), said, "I don't think this is very like Canning; he was not so large a man."—"No, my lord," replied his companion, "nor so green."


During the assizes, in a case of assault and battery, where a stone had been thrown by the defendant, the following clear and conclusive evidence was drawn out of a Yorkshireman:—

"Did you see the defendant throw the stone?"—"I saw a stone, and I'ze pretty sure the defendant throwed it."

"Was it a large stone?"—"I should say it wur a largish stone."

"What was its size?"—"I should say a sizeable stone."

"Can't you answer definitely how big it was?"—"I should say it wur a stone of some bigness."

"Can't you give the jury some idea of the stone?"—"Why, as near as I recollect, it wur something of a stone."

"Can't you compare it to some other object?"—"Why, if I wur to compare it, so as to give some notion of the stone, I should say it wur as large as a lump o' chalk!"


A certain reverend gentleman in the country was[Pg 153] complaining to another that it was a great fatigue to preach twice a day. "Oh!" said the other, "I preach twice every Sunday, and make nothing of it."


Stephen Kemble (who was very fat) and Mrs. Esten, were crossing the Frith, when a gale sprang up, which alarmed the passengers. "Suppose, Mr. Kemble," said Mrs. Esten; "suppose we become food for fishes, which of us two do you think they will eat first?"—"Those that are gluttons," replied the comedian, "will undoubtedly fall foul of me, but the epicures will attack you!"


It was told of Jekyll, that one of his friends, a brewer, had been drowned in his own vat. "Ah!" he exclaimed, "floating in his own watery bier."


This name's the best that could be given,
As will by proof be quickly seen;
For "dropping from the clouds from Heaven,"
She was, of course, the raining Queen.


In one of Sir Robert Walpole's letters, he gives a very instructive picture of a skilful minister and a condescending Parliament. "My dear friend," writes Sir Robert, "there is scarcely a member whose purse I do not know to a sixpence, and whose very soul almost I could not purchase at the offer. The reason former ministers have been deceived in this matter is evident—they never considered the temper of the people they had to deal with. I have known a minister so weak as to offer an avaricious old rascal a star and garter, and attempt to bribe a young rogue, who set no value upon money, with a lucrative employment. I pursue methods as opposite as the poles, and[Pg 154] therefore my administration has been attended with a different effect."

"Patriots," says Walpole, "spring up like mushrooms. I could raise fifty of them within four-and-twenty hours. I have raised many of them in one night. It is but refusing to gratify an unreasonable or insolent demand, and up starts a patriot."


When Boswell's "Life of Johnson," first made its appearance, Boswell was so full of it that he could neither think nor talk of anything else: so much so, that meeting Lord Thurlow hurrying through Parliament Street to get to the House of Lords, where an important debate was expected, and for which he was already too late, Boswell had the temerity to stop and accost him with "Have you read my book?"—"Yes, —— you!" replied Lord Thurlow, "every word of it; I could not help myself."


The first of all the royal infant males
Should take the title of the Prince of Wales;
Because 'tis clear to seamen and to lubber,
Babies and whales are both inclined to blubber.


A drunken fellow coming by a shop, asked an apprentice boy what the sign was. He answered, that it was a sign he was drunk.


A young man who, on a public occasion, makes a false quantity at the outset of life, can seldom or never get over it.


A lady was asked by her friends if she really intended to marry Mr. ——, who was a good kind of a man, but so very singular. "Well," replied the lady, "if he is very much unlike other men, he is more likely to make a good husband."[Pg 155]


The folly of betting is well satirized in one of Walpole's Letters: "Sept. 1st, 1750,—They have put in the papers a good story made at White's. A man dropped down dead at the door, and was carried in; the club immediately made bets whether he was dead or not, and when they were going to bleed him the wagerers for his death interposed, and said it would affect the fairness of the bet."


Paddy being asked if he thought of doing something, which, for his own part, he deemed very unlikely, he said he should "as soon think of attempting to light a cigar at a pump."


Though a railroad, learned Rector,
Passes near your parish spire;
Think not, sir, your Sunday lecture
E'er will overwhelmed expire.
Put not then your hopes in weepers,
Solid work my road secures;
Preach whate'er you will—my sleepers
Never will awaken yours.

These lines will be read with a deep interest, as being literally the last ever written by their highly-gifted and deeply-lamented author,—James Smith.


Coleridge once dined in company with a grave-looking person, an admirable listener, who said nothing, but smiled and nodded, and thus impressed the poet with an idea of his intelligence. "That man is a philosopher," thought Coleridge. At length, towards the end of the dinner, some apple-dumplings were placed on the table, and the listener no sooner saw them than, almost jumping from his chair, he exclaimed, "Them's the jockeys for me!"[Pg 156]


A highwayman and a chimney-sweeper were condemned to be hanged the same time at Tyburn,—the first for an exploit on the highway, the latter for a more ignoble robbery. "Keep farther off, can't you?" said the highwayman, with some disdain. "Sir," replied the sweep, "I won't keep off; I have as much right to be here as you!"


An Irish counsel being asked by the judge for whom was he concerned, replied, "I am concerned for the plaintiff, but I'm retained by the defendant."


When the late Mr. Whitbread's father, the brewer, first opposed the Duke of Bedford's interest at Bedford, the Duke informed him that he would spend £50,000 rather than he should come in. Whitbread, with true English spirit, replied, that was nothing; the sale of his grains would pay for that.


A Jew called on to justify bail in the Court of Common Pleas, the opposing counsel thus examined him: "What is your name?"—"Jacob."—"What are you?"—"General dealer."—"Do you keep a shop?"—"No."—"How then do you dispose of your goods?"—"To the best advantage, my good fellow."


Dr. Young was walking in his garden at Welwyn, in company with two ladies (one of whom he afterwards married), when the servant came to acquaint him a gentleman wished to speak with him. As he refused to go, one lady took him by the right arm, the other by the left, and led him to the garden-gate; when, finding resistance in[Pg 157] vain, he bowed, laid his hand upon his heart, and spoke the following lines:—

"Thus Adam looked, when from the garden driven,
And thus disputed orders sent from heaven.
Like him I go, but yet to go am loth;
Like him I go, for angels drove us both.
Hard was his fate, but mine is more unkind;
His Eve went with him, but mine stays behind."


Mr. Dickens tells an American story of a young lady, who, being intensely loved by five young men, was advised to "jump overboard, and marry the man who jumped in after her." Accordingly, next morning, the five lovers being on deck, and looking very devotedly at the young lady, she plunged into the sea head-foremost. Four of the lovers immediately jumped in after her. When the young lady and four lovers were out again, she says to the captain, "What am I to do with them now, they are so wet?"—"Take the dry one." And the young lady did, and married him.


The old Scottish hearers were very particular on the subject of their ministers' preaching old sermons; and to repeat a discourse which they could recollect was always made a subject of animadversion by those who heard it. A beadle who was a good deal of a wit in his way, gave a sly hit in his pretended defence of his minister on the question. As they were proceeding from church, the minister observed the beadle had been laughing as if he had triumphed over some of his parishioners with whom he had been in conversation. On asking the cause of this, he received for answer, "Indeed, sir, they were saying ye had preached an auld sermon to-day, but I tackled them, for I tauld them it was no'an auld sermon, for the minister had preached it no' sax months syne."


Love the sea? I dote upon it,—from the beach.[Pg 158]—D.J.


A pompous parish clergyman felt his dignity mightily offended by a chubby-faced lad who was passing him without moving his hat. "Do you know who I am, sir, that you pass me in that unmannerly way? You are better fed than taught, I think, sir."—"Whew, may be it is so, measter, for you teaches me, but I feeds myself."


An American braggart told Cooke that his family was amongst the oldest in Maryland. Cooke inquired if he had carefully examined the family plate,—the fetters and handcuffs!


A poor youth, brought up in one of the colleges, could not afford the price of a pair of shoes, but when his old ones were worn out at the toes, had them capped with leather: whereupon his companions began to jeer him for so doing: "Why," said he, "don't you see they must be capped? Are they not fellows?"


An unfortunate man, who had never drank water enough to warrant the disease, was reduced to such a state by dropsy, that a consultation of physicians was held upon his case. They agreed that tapping was necessary, and the poor patient was invited to submit to the operation, which he seemed inclined to do in spite of the entreaties of his son. "O, father, father, do not let them tap you," screamed the boy, in an agony of tears; "do anything, but do not let them tap you!"—"Why, my dear?" inquired the afflicted parent, "it will do me good, and I shall live long in health to make you happy."—"No, father, no, you will not: there never was anything tapped in our house that lasted longer than a week."


Lisette has lost her wanton wiles—
What secret care consumes her youth,
[Pg 159] And circumscribes her smiles?
A speck on a front tooth.


A very prosy gentleman, who was in the habit of waylaying Jerrold, met his victim, and, planting himself in the way, said, "Well, Jerrold, what is going on to-day?"

Jerrold said, darting past the inquirer, "I am!"


A certain deacon being accustomed to snore while asleep in church, he received the following polite note: "Deacon —— is requested not to commence snoring to-morrow until the sermon is begun, as some persons in the neighborhood of his pew would like to hear the text."


Soon after the attack of Margaret Nicholson on the life of George III., the following bill was stuck up in the window of an obscure alehouse: "Here is to be seen the fork belonging to the knife with which Margaret Nicholson attempted to stab the King."


Two women scolding each other, one said, "Thou liest like a thief and a witch." The other replies, "But thou liest like an almanac-maker; for thou liest every day and all the year long."


A gentleman at Limehouse observed the laborers at work in a tier of colliers, and wanting to learn the price of coals, hailed one of the men with, "Well, Paddy, how are coals?"—"Black as ever," was the reply.


"He that will never look upon an ass,
Must lock his door and break his looking-glass."
[Pg 160]


A man was boasting before a companion of his very strong sight. "I can discern from here a mouse on the top of that very high tower."—"I don't see it," answered, his comrade; "but I hear it running."


A swell clerk from London, who was spending an evening in a country inn full of company, and feeling secure in the possession of most money, made the following offer. "I will drop money into a hat with any man in the room. The man who holds out the longest to have the whole and treat the company."—"I'll do it," said a farmer. The swell dropped in half a sovereign. The countryman followed with a sixpence. "Go on," said the swell. "I won't," said the farmer; "take the whole, and treat the company."


On the trial of a cause in the Court of Common Pleas, Mr. Serjeant Vaughan having asked a witness a question rather of law than of fact, Lord Chief Justice Eldon observed, "Brother Vaughan, this is not quite fair; you wish the witness to give you, for nothing, what you would not give him under two guineas."


At a shop-window in the Strand there appeared the following notice: "Wanted, two apprentices, who will be treated as one of the family."


When an inferior actor at the Haymarket once took off David Garrick, Foote limped from the boxes to the green-room, and severely rated him for his impudence. "Why, sir," said the fellow, "you take him off every day, and why may not I?"—"Because," replied the satirist, "you are not qualified to kill game, and I am."[Pg 161]


When Wilkes was in France, and at Court, Madame Pompador addressed him thus: "You Englishmen are fine fellows; pray how far may a man go in his abuse of the Royal family among you?"—"I do not at present know," replied he, dryly, "but I am trying."


Lord J. Russell endeavored to persuade Lord Langdale to resign the permanent Mastership of the Rolls for the uncertain position of Lord Chancellor, and paid the learned lord very high compliments on his talent and acquirements. "It is useless talking, my lord," said Langdale. "So long as I enjoy the Rolls, I care nothing for your butter."


His Lordship was accustomed to sleep during the Parliamentary harangues of his adversaries, leaving Sir Grey Cooper to note down anything remarkable. During a debate on ship-building, some tedious speaker entered on an historical detail, in which, commencing with Noah's Ark, he traced the progress of the art regularly down-wards. When he came to build the Spanish Armada, Sir Grey inadvertently awoke the slumbering premier, who inquired at what era the honorable gentleman had arrived. Being answered, "We are now in the reign of Queen Elizabeth," "Dear Sir Grey," said he, "why not let me sleep a century or two more?"


"You had better ask for manners than money," said a finely-dressed gentleman to a beggar who asked for alms.

"I asked for what I thought you had the most of," was the cutting reply.


A loquacious lady, ill of a complaint of forty years' standing, applied to Mr. Abernethy for advice, and had[Pg 162] begun to describe its progress from the first, when Mr. A. interrupted her, saying he wanted to go into the next street, to see a patient; he begged the lady to inform him how long it would take her to tell her story. The answer was, twenty minutes. He asked her to proceed, and hoped she would endeavor to finish by the time he returned.


(A part is not equal to the whole.—Axiom.)

This is a vulgar error, as I'll prove,
Or freely forfeit half a pipe of sherry;
'Tis plain one sixteenth part of Brougham's sense,
Equals the whole possessed by L—d—d—y.


When Morris had the Haymarket Theatre, Jerrold, on a certain occasion, had reason to find fault with the strength, or rather, the want of strength, of the company. Morris expostulated, and said, "Why there's V——, he was bred on these boards!"—"He looks as though he'd been cut out of them," replied Jerrold.


No wonder the debate fell dead
'Neath such a constant fire of lead.


A nobleman who was a great amateur painter showed one of his performances to Turner. That great artist said to him, "My lord, you want nothing but poverty to become a very excellent painter."


A very old man, who was commonly very dull and heavy, had now and then intervals of gayety: some person observed, "he resembles an old castle which is sometimes visited by spirits."[Pg 163]


"Would you think it?" said A. to B. "Mr. Roscius has taken a week to study a Prologue which I wrote in a day."—"His memory is evidently not so good as yours," replied B.


A man entered a shop, saying he should like a two-penny loaf, which was accordingly placed before him. As if suddenly changing his mind, he declared he should prefer two pen'orth of whiskey instead. This he drank off, and pushing the loaf towards the shopkeeper, was departing, when demand of payment was made for the whiskey.

"Sure, and haven't I given ye the loaf for the whiskey?"

"Well, but you did not pay for the loaf, you know."

"Thrue, and why should I? don't you see, I didn't take the loaf, man alive?" And away he quietly walked, leaving the worthy dealer lost in a brown study.


Mr. Hawkins, Q.C., engaged in a cause before the late Lord Campbell, had frequently to mention the damage done to a carriage called a Brougham, and this word he pronounced, according to its orthography, Brough-am.

"If my learned friend will adopt the usual designation, and call the carriage a Bro'am, it will save the time of the court," said Lord Campbell, with a smile.

Mr. Hawkins bowed and accepted his Lordship's pronunciation of the word during the remainder of his speech. When Lord Campbell proceeded to sum up the evidence, he had to refer to the Omnibus which had damaged the Bro'am, and in doing so pronounced the word also, according to its orthography. "I beg your Lordship's pardon," said Mr. Hawkins, very respectfully; "but if your Lordship will use the common designation for such a vehicle, and call it a 'Buss—" The loud laughter which ensued, and in which his Lordship joined, prevented the conclusion of the sentence.[Pg 164]


Sir W.G., when governor of Williamsburg, returned the salute of a negro who was passing. "Sir," said a gentleman present, "do you descend to salute a slave?"—"Why, yes," replied the governor; "I cannot suffer a man of his condition to exceed me in good manners."


With cards and dice, and dress and friends,
My savings are complete;
I light the candle at both ends,
And thus make both ends meet.


A cowardly fellow having spoken impertinently to a gentleman, received a violent box of the ear. He demanded whether that was meant in earnest. "Yes, sir," replied the other, without hesitation. The coward turned away, saying, "I am glad of it, sir, for I do not like such jests."


Macklin was once annoyed at Foote laughing and talking just as the former was about to begin a lecture. "Well, sir, you seem to be very merry there; but do you know what I am going to say now?" asked Macklin. "No, sir," said Foote, "pray, do you?"


The following anecdote was told with great glee at a dinner by William IV., then Duke of Clarence: "I was riding in the Park the other day, on the road between Teddington and Hampton-wick, when I was overtaken by a butcher's boy, on horseback, with a tray of meat under his arm.—'Nice pony that of yours, old gentleman,' said he.—'Pretty fair,' was my reply.—'Mine's a good 'un too,' rejoined he; 'and I'll trot you to Hampton-wick for a pot o' beer.' I declined the match; and the butcher's boy, as he stuck his single spur into his horse's side, exclaimed,[Pg 165] with a look of contempt, 'I thought you were only a muff!'"


An eminent barrister having a case sent to him for an opinion—the case being outrageously preposterous—replied, in answer to the question, "Would an action lie?"—"Yes, if the witnesses would lie too, but not otherwise."


A gentleman described to Jerrold the bride of a mutual friend. "Why, he is six foot high, and she is the shortest woman I ever saw. What taste, eh?"

"Ay," Jerrold replied, "and only a taste!"


Mr. Pitt, speaking in the House of Commons of the glorious war which preceded the disastrous one in which we lost the colonies, called it "the last war." Several members cried out, "The last war but one." He took no notice; and soon after, repeating the mistake, he was interrupted by a general cry of "The last war but one,—the last war but one."—"I mean, sir," said Mr. Pitt, turning to the speaker, and raising his sonorous voice,—"I mean, sir, the last war that Britons would wish to remember." Whereupon the cry was instantly changed into an universal cheering, long and loud.


Jerrold hated the cant of philanthropy, and writhed whenever he was called a philanthropist in print. On one occasion, when he found himself so described, he exclaimed, "Zounds, it tempts a man to kill a child, to get rid of the reputation."


English tourists in Ireland soon discover that the length of Irish miles constantly recurs to their observation; eleven Irish miles being equal to about fourteen English. A stranger one day complained of the barbarous[Pg 166] condition of the road in a particular district; "True," said a native, "but if the quality of it be rather infairior, we give good measure of it, anyhow."


At the time that the bubble schemes were flourishing, in 1825, Mr. Abernethy met some friends who had risked large sums of money in one of those fraudulent speculations; they informed him that they were going to partake of a most sumptuous dinner, the expenses of which would be defrayed by the company. "If I am not very much deceived," replied he, "you will have nothing but bubble and squeak in a short time."


(On the King's double dealing.)

Of such a paradox as this,
Before I never dreamt;
The King of England has become,
A subject of contempt!!!


A gentleman seeing a fine painting representing a man playing on the lute, paid this high compliment to the artist. "When I look on that painting I think myself deaf."


A gentleman calling for beer at another gentleman's table, finding it very bad, declined drinking it. "What!" said the master of the house, "don't you like the beer?"—"It is not to be found fault with," answered the other; "for one should never speak ill of the dead."


Lady Margaret Herbert asked somebody for a pretty pattern for a nightcap. "Well," said the person, "what signifies the pattern of a nightcap?"—"O! child," said she, "you know, in case of fire!"[Pg 167]


A certain Irish judge, called the Hanging Judge, and who had never been known to shed a tear except when Macheath, in the "Beggar's Opera," got his reprieve, once said to Curran, "Pray, Mr. Curran, is that hung beef beside you? If it is, I will try it."—"If you try it, my lord," replied Curran, "it's sure to be hung."


General Wolfe invited a Scotch officer to dine with him; the same day he was also invited by some brother officers. "You must excuse me," said he to them; "I am already engaged to Wolfe." A smart young ensign observed, he might as well have expressed himself with more respect, and said General Wolfe. "Sir," said the Scotch officer, with great promptitude, "we never say General Alexander, or General Cæsar." Wolfe, who was within hearing, by a low bow to the Scotch officer, acknowledged the pleasure he felt at the high compliment.


As the late Trades Unions, by way of a show,
Over Westminster-bridge strutted five in a row,
"I feel for the bridge," whispered Dick, with a shiver;
"Thus tried by the mob, it may sink in the river."
Quoth Tom, a crown lawyer: "Abandon your fears:
As a bridge it can only be tried by its piers."


When Thomas Sheridan was in a nervous, debilitated state, and dining with his father at Peter Moore's, the servant, in passing by the fire-place knocked down the plate-warmer, and made such a clatter as caused the invalid to start and tremble. Moore, provoked by the accident, rebuked the man, and added, "I suppose you have broken all the plates?"—"No, sir," said the servant, "not one!"—"Not one!" exclaimed Sheridan, "then, hang it, sir, you have made all that noise for nothing!"[Pg 168]


Some one wrote in a hotel visitors' book his initials, "A.S." A wag wrote underneath, "Two-thirds of the truth."


Theodore Hook once said to a man at whose table a publisher got very drunk, "Why, you appear to have emptied your wine-cellar into your book-seller."


Whilst a country parson was preaching, the chief of his parishioners sitting near the pulpit was fast asleep: whereupon he said, "Now, beloved friends, I am in a great strait; for if I speak too softly, those at the farther end of the church cannot hear me; and if I talk too loud, I shall wake the chief man in the parish."


A brow austere, a circumspective eye,
A frequent shrug of the os humeri,
A nod significant, a stately gait,
A blustering manner, and a tone of weight,
A smile sarcastic, an expressive stare,—
Adopt all these, as time and place will bear:
Then rest assured that those of little sense
Will deem you, sure, a man of consequence.


A sailor went to a watchmaker, and presenting a small French watch to him, demanded to know how much the repair of it would come to. The watchmaker, after examining it, said, "It will be more expense repairing than its original cost."—"I don't mind that," said the tar; "I will even give you double the original cost, for I gave a fellow a blow on the head for it, and if you repair it, I will give you two."


A laird riding past a high, steep bank, stopped opposite[Pg 169] a hole in it, and said, "John, I saw a brock gang in there."—"Did ye," said John; "wull ye haud my horse, sir?"—"Certainly," said the laird, and away rushed John for a spade. After digging for half an hour, he came back, nigh speechless, to the laird, who had regarded him musingly. "I canna find him, sir," said John. "Deed," said the laird very coolly, "I wad ha' wondered if ye had, for it's ten years sin' I saw him gang in there."


"I wish you would pay a little attention, sir!" exclaimed a stage manager to a careless actor. "Well, sir, so I am paying as little as I can!" was the calm reply.


A valiant sailor, that had lost his leg formerly in the wars, was nevertheless, for his great prudence and courage, made captain of a ship; and being in the midst of an engagement, a cannon bullet took off his wooden supporter, so that he fell down. The seamen immediately called out for a surgeon. "Confound you all," said he, "no surgeon, no surgeon,—a carpenter! a carpenter!"


A pretty little dog had written on its collar the following distich:—

"This collar don't belong to you, sir,
Pass on—or you may have one too, sir."

The same person might have been the proprietor of another dog, upon whose collar was inscribed:—

"I am Tom Draper's dog. Whose dog are you?"


Foote praising the hospitality of the Irish, after one of his trips to the sister kingdom, a gentleman asked him whether he had ever been at Cork. "No, sir," replied Foote; "but I have seen many drawings of it."[Pg 170]


An industrious tradesman having taken a new apprentice, awoke him at a very early hour on the first morning, by calling out that the family were sitting down to table. "Thank you," said the boy, as he turned over in the bed to adjust himself for a new nap; "thank you, I never eat anything during the night!"


Charles Lamb, one afternoon, in returning from a dinner-party, took his seat in a crowded omnibus, when a stout gentleman subsequently looked in and politely asked, "All full inside?"—"I don't know how it may be, sir, with the other passengers," answered Lamb, "but that last piece of oyster-pie did the business for me."


An old clergyman one Sunday, at the close of the sermon, gave notice to the congregation that in the course of the week he expected to go on a mission to the heathen. One of his parishioners, in great agitation, exclaimed, "Why, my dear sir, you have never told us one word of this before; what shall we do?"—"O, brother," said the parson, "I don't expect to go out of this town."


During the Chief-Justiceship of the late Lord Ellenborough there was a horse-cause, to which a certain Privy Councillor was a party, and who, as of right, took his seat upon the bench at the hearing, and there (while his adversary's counsel told his tale) ventured a whisper of remark to the Chief Justice. "If you again address me, Sir W——, I shall give you in custody of the Marshal." It was a settler for him, and, as it turned out, of his cause; for he lost it, and most justly too.


Cries Sylvia to a Reverend Dean,
"What reason can be given,
Since marriage is a holy thing,
That there are none in Heaven?"
[Pg 171]
"There are no women," he replied.
She quick returns the jest,—
"Women there are, but I'm afraid
They cannot find a priest."


When Moore was getting his portrait painted by Newton, Sydney Smith, who accompanied the poet, said to the artist, "Couldn't you contrive to throw into his face somewhat of a stronger expression of hostility to the Church Establishment?"


Some one remarked to Mrs. Siddons that applause was necessary to actors, as it gave them confidence. "More," replied the actress; "it gives us breath."


A stingy husband threw off the blame of the rudeness of his children in company, by saying that his wife always "Gives them their own way."—"Poor things!" was the prompt response, "it's all I have to give them."


A foolish scholar having almost been drowned in his first attempt at swimming, vowed that he would never enter the water again until he was a complete master of the art.

[A similar story is told of a pedant by Hierocles.]


A denizen of the good city of St. Andrews, long desirous of being elected deacon of his craft, after many years of scheming and bowing, at last attained the acme of his ambition, and while the oaths of office were being administered to him, a number of waggish friends waited outside to "trot him out," but the sequel convinced them this was unnecessary. On emerging from the City Hall, with thumbs stuck in the armlets of his vest, with head erect, and solemn step, he approached his friends, lifting[Pg 172] up his voice and saying, "Now, billies, supposing I'm a deacon, mind, I can be spoken to at ony time."


The late Lord Clonmel, who never thought of demanding more than a shilling for an affidavit, used to be well satisfied, provided it was a good one. In his time the Birmingham shillings were current, and he used the following extraordinary precautions to avoid being imposed upon by taking a bad one: "You shall true answer make to such questions as shall be demanded of you touching this affidavit, so help you, &c. Is this a good shilling? Are the contents of this affidavit true? Is this your name and handwriting?"


Jerrold, at a party, noticed a doctor in solemn black waltzing with a young lady who was dressed in a silk of brilliant blue. "As I live! there's a blue pill dancing with a black draught!" said Jerrold.


Charles the Second once said to Sidney, "Look me out a man that can't be corrupted: I have sent three treasurers to the North, and they have all turned thieves."—"Well, sire, I will recommend Mivert."—"Mivert!" exclaimed the king, "why, Mivert is a thief already."—"Therefore he cannot be corrupted, your majesty," answered Sidney.


St. Paul has declared that, when persons, though twain,
Are in wedlock united, one flesh they remain.
But had he been by, when, like Pharaoh's kine pairing,
Dr. Douglas, of Benet, espoused Miss Mainwaring,
St. Peter, no doubt, would have altered his tone,
And have said, "These two splinters shall now make one bone."
[Pg 173]


Horne Tooke, during his contest for Westminster, was thus addressed by a partisan of his opponent, of not a very reputable character. "Well, Mr. Tooke, you will have all the blackguards with you to-day."—"I am delighted to hear it, sir, and from such good authority."


"The most luxurious smoker I ever knew," says Mr. Paget, "was a young Transylvanian, who told me that his servant always inserted a lighted pipe into his mouth the first thing in the morning, and that he smoked it out before he awoke. 'It is so pleasant,' he observed, 'to have the proper taste restored to one's mouth before one is sensible even of its wants.'"


A certain Judge having somewhat hastily delivered judgment in a particular case, a King's Counsel observed, in a tone loud enough to reach the bench, "Good heavens! every judgment of this court is a mere toss-up." "But heads seldom win," observed a learned barrister, sitting behind him.


By what curious links, and fantastical relations, are mankind connected together! At the distance of half the globe, a Hindoo gains his support by groping at the bottom of the sea for the morbid concretion of a shell-fish, to decorate the throat of a London alderman's wife.—S.S.


Serjeant Maynard, a famous lawyer in the days of the Stuarts, called law an "ars bablativa."


(Accounting for the apostacy of ministers.)

The Whigs, because they rat and change
To Toryism, all must spurn;
[Pg 174] Yet in the fact there's nothing strange,
That Wigs should twist, or curl, or turn.


The author of the "Parson's Daughter," when surprised one evening in his arm-chair, two or three hours after dinner, is reported to have apologized, by saying, "When one is alone, the bottle does come round so often." On a similar occasion, Sir Hercules Langreish, on being asked, "Have you finished all that port (three bottles) without assistance?" answered, "No—not quite that—I had the assistance of a bottle of Madeira."


The Rev. Mr. B——, when residing at Canterbury some years ago, was reckoned a good violoncello-player. His sight being dim obliged him very often to snuff the candles, and in lieu of snuffers he generally employed his fingers in that office, thrusting the spoils into the sound-holes of his violoncello. A waggish friend of his popped a quantity of gunpowder into B——'s instrument. The tea equipage being removed, music became the order of the evening, and B—— dashed away at Vanhall's 47th. B—— came to a bar's rest, the candles were snuffed, and he thrust the ignited wick into the usual place—fit fragor, and bang went the fiddle to pieces.


When the Marylebone vestrymen were discussing the propriety of laying down wood pavement within their parish, and were raising difficulties on the subject, Jerrold, as he read the report of the discussion, said:—

"Difficulties in the way! Absurd. They have only to put their heads together, and there is the wood pavement."

This joke has been erroneously given to Sydney Smith.


An undergraduate had unconsciously strayed into the garden of a certain D.D., then master of the college adjoining.[Pg 175] He had not been there many minutes, when Dr. —— entered himself, and, perceiving the student, in no very courteous manner desired the young gentleman to walk out; which the undergraduate not doing (in the opinion of the doctor) in sufficient haste, Domine demanded, rather peremptorily, "whether he knew who he was?" at the same time informing the intruder he was Dr. ——. "That," replied the undergraduate, "is impossible; for Dr. —— is a gentleman, and you are a blackguard!"


William IV. seemed in a momentary dilemma one day, when, at table with several officers, he ordered one of the waiters to "take away that marine there," pointing to an empty bottle. "Your majesty!" inquired a colonel of marines, "do you compare an empty bottle to a member of our branch of the service?"—"Yes," replied the monarch, as if a sudden thought had struck him; "I mean to say it has done its duty once, and is ready to do it again."


Examining a country squire who disputed a collier's bill, Curran asked, "Did he not give you the coals, friend?"—"He did, sir, but—"—"But what? On your oath, witness, wasn't your payment slack?"


Sterne used to say, "The most accomplished way of using books is to serve them as some people do lords, learn their titles and then brag of their acquaintance."


When Patrick Henry, who gave the first impulse to the ball of the American Revolution, introduced his celebrated resolution on the Stamp Act into the House of Burgesses of Virginia (May, 1765), he exclaimed, when descanting on the tyranny of the obnoxious Act, "Cæsar had his Brutus; Charles I. his Cromwell; and George[Pg 176] III...."—"Treason!" cried the speaker; "treason, treason!" echoed from every part of the house. It was one of those trying moments which are decisive of character. Henry faltered not for an instant; but rising to a loftier attitude, and fixing on the speaker an eye flashing with fire, continued, "may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it."


Rogers used to say that a man who attempts to read all the new publications must often do as the flea does—skip.


"If an earthquake were to engulf England to-morrow," said Jerrold, "the English would manage to meet and dine somewhere among the rubbish, just to celebrate the event."


When by a jury one is tried,
Twelve of his equals are implied;
Then W—— might attempt in vain,
This sacred privilege to obtain.
Since human nature ne'er on earth
Gave to twelve equal scoundrels birth.


Judge Burnet, son of the famous Bishop of Salisbury, when young, is said to have been of a wild and dissipated turn. Being one day found by the Bishop in a very serious humor, "What is the matter with you, Tom?" said he, "what are you ruminating on?"—"A greater work than your lordship's History of the Reformation," answered the son. "Ay! what is that?" said the Bishop. "The reformation of myself, my lord," answered the son.


Lord Chesterfield placed among the portraits of his ancestors two old heads, inscribed Adam de Stanhope,[Pg 177] and Eve de Stanhope: the ridicule is admirable.

Old Peter Leneve, the herald, who thought ridicule consisted in not being of an old family, made this epitaph for young Craggs, whose father had been a footman: Here lies the last who died before the first of his family! Old Craggs was one day getting into a coach with Arthur Moore, who had worn a livery too, when he turned about, and said, "Why, Arthur, I am always going to get up behind; are not you?"

The Gordons trace their name no farther back than the days of Alexander the Great, from Gordonia, a city of Macedon, which, they say, once formed part of Alexander's dominions, and, from thence, no doubt, the clan must have come!


On being informed that the judges in the Court of Common Pleas had little or nothing to do, Bushe remarked, "Well, well, they're equal to it!"


A waiter named Samuel Spring having occasion to write to his late Majesty, George IV., when Prince of Wales, commenced his letter as follows: "Sam, the waiter at the Cocoa-Tree, presents his compliments to the Prince of Wales," &c. His Royal Highness next day saw Sam, and after noticing the receiving of his note, and the freedom of the style, said, "Sam, this may be very well between you and me, but it will not do with the Norfolks and Arundels."


At Durham assize a deaf old lady, who had brought an action for damages against a neighbor, was being examined, when the judge suggested a compromise, and instructed counsel to ask what she would take to settle the matter. "His lordship wants to know what you will take?" asked the learned counsel, bawling as loud as ever he could in the old lady's ear. "I thank his lordship[Pg 178] kindly," answered the ancient dame; "and if it's no ill-convenience to him, I'll take a little warm ale!"


In the time of Sir John Macpherson's Indian government, most of his staff consisted of Scotch gentlemen, whose names began with Mac. One of the aides-de-camp used to call the government-house Almack's, "For," said he, "if you stand in the middle of the court, and call Mac, you will have a head popped out of every window."


(On the oiled and perfumed ringlets of a certain Lord.)

Of miracles this is sans doute the most rare,
I ever perceived, heard reported, or read;
A man with abundance of scents in his hair,
Without the least atom of sense in his head.


A Tory member declared the extent of the Reform Bill positively made the hair of members on his side the house to stand on end. On the ensuing elections, they will find the Bill to have a still greater effect on the state of the poll.

G. A'B.


Jerrold was at a party when the Park guns announced the birth of a prince. "How they do powder these babies!" Jerrold exclaimed.


Tom Moore, observing himself to be eyed by two handsome young ladies, inquired of a friend, who was near enough to hear their remarks, what it was they said of him. "Why, the taller one observed that she was delighted to have had the pleasure of seeing so famous a personage."—"Indeed!" said the gratified poet, "anything more?"—"Yes: she said she was the more pleased because she had taken in your celebrated 'Almanac' for the last five or six years!"[Pg 179]


Mrs. Foote, mother of Aristophanes, experienced the caprice of fortune nearly as much as her son. The following laconic letters passed between them: "Dear Sam, I am in prison."—Answer: "Dear mother, so am I."


It being unlawful to set man-traps and spring-guns, a gentleman once hit upon a happy device. He was a scholar, and being often asked the meaning of mysterious words compounded from the Greek, that appear in every day's newspaper, and finding they always excited wonder by their length and sound, he had painted on a board, and put up on his premises, in very large letters, the following: "Tondapamubomenos set up in these grounds." It was perfectly a "patent safety."


A lady who painted her face, asked Parsons how he thought she looked. "I can't tell, madam," he replied, "except you uncover your face."


No wonder Tory landlords flout
"Fixed Duty," for 'tis plain
With them the Anti-Corn-Law Bill
Must go against the grain.


Doctor Hill, a notorious wit, physician, and man of letters, having quarrelled with the members of the Royal Society, who had refused to admit him as an associate, resolved to avenge himself. At the time that Bishop Berkeley had issued his work on the marvellous virtues of tar-water, Hill addressed to their secretary a letter purporting to be from a country-surgeon, and reciting the particulars of a cure which he had effected. "A sailor," he wrote, "broke his leg, and applied to me for help. I bound together the broken portions, and washed them with[Pg 180] the celebrated tar-water. Almost immediately the sailor felt the beneficial effects of this remedy, and it was not long before his leg was completely healed!" The letter was read, and discussed at the meetings of the Royal Society, and caused considerable difference of opinion. Papers were written for and against the tar-water and the restored leg, when a second letter arrived from the (pretended) country practitioner:—"In my last I omitted to mention that the broken limb of the sailor was a wooden leg!"


"Is there anything the matter with you?" said a physician to a person who had sent for him. "O dear, yes, I am ill all over, but I don't know what it is, and I have no particular pain nowhere," was the reply. "Very well," said the doctor, "I'll give you something to take away all that."


An eminent spirit-merchant in Dublin announced, in one of the Irish papers, that he has still a small quantity of the whiskey on sale which was drunk by his late Majesty while in Dublin.


Young, the author of "Night Thoughts," paid a visit to Potter, son of Archbishop Potter, who lived in a deep and dirty part of Kent, through which Young had scrambled with some difficulty and danger. "Whose field was that I crossed?" asked Young, on reaching his friend. "Mine," said Potter. "True," replied the poet; "Potter's field to bury strangers in."


Lord Erskine having once asserted, in the presence of Lady Erskine and Mr. Sheridan, that a wife was only a tin canister tied to one's tail, Sheridan at once presented her these lines,—

Lord Erskine at woman presuming to rail,
Calls a wife "a tin canister tied to one's tail;"
[Pg 181] And fair Lady Anne, while the subject he carries on,
Seems hurt at his lordship's degrading comparison.
But wherefore "degrading?" Considered aright,
A canister's useful, and polished, and bright;
And should dirt its original purity hide,
'Tis the fault of the puppy to whom it is tied.


A learned judge being asked the difference between law and equity courts, replied, "At common law you are done for at once: at equity, you are not so easily disposed of. One is prussic acid, and the other laudanum."


Counsellor (afterwards Chief Justice) Bushe, being on one occasion asked which of a company of actors he most admired, maliciously replied, "The prompter, sir, for I have heard the most and seen the least of him."


"Were I but a king," said a country boy, "I would eat my fill of fat bacon, and swing upon a gate all day long."


When Jack was poor, the lad was frank and free.
Of late he's grown brimful of pride and pelf;
No wonder that he don't remember me;
Why so? you see he has forgot himself.


Reputation is to notoriety what real turtle is to mock.


It was asked by a scholar why Master Thomas Hawkins did not marry Miss Blagrove; he was answered, "He couldn't master her, so he missed her."[Pg 182]


The jolly members of a toping club
Like pipe-staves are, but hooped into a tub;
And in a close confederacy link
For nothing else, but only to hold drink.


The household furniture of an English barrister, then recently deceased, was being sold, in a country town, when one neighbor remarked to another that the stock of goods and chattels appeared to be extremely scanty, considering the rank of the lawyer, their late owner. "It is so," was the reply; "but the fact is, he had very few causes, and therefore could not have many effects."


Two ladies who inhabit Wapping were having some words together on the pavement, when the daughter of one of them popped her head out of the door, and exclaimed "Hurry, mother, and call her a thief before she calls you one."


One night Erskine was hastening out of the House of Commons, when he was stopped by a member going in, who accosted him, "Who's up, Erskine?"—"Windham," was the reply. "What's he on?"—"His legs," answered the wit.


"This morning, quite dead, Tom was found in his bed,
Although he was hearty last night;
'Tis thought having seen Dr. Glynn in a dream,
The poor fellow died of affright."


One Patrick Maguire had been appointed to a situation the reverse of a place of all work; and his friends, who[Pg 183] called to congratulate him, were very much astonished to see his face lengthened on the receipt of the news. "A sinecure is it?" exclaimed Pat. "Sure I know what a sinecure is: it's a place where there's nothing to do, and they pay you by the piece."


Brother David Dewar was a plain, honest, straightforward man, who never hesitated to express his convictions, however unpalatable they might be to others. Being elected a member of the Prison Board, he was called upon to give his vote in the choice of a chaplain from the licentiates of the Established Kirk. The party who had gained the confidence of the Board had proved rather an indifferent preacher in a charge to which he had previously been appointed; and on David being asked to signify his assent to the choice of the Board, he said, "Weel, I've no objections to the man, for I understand he preached a kirk toom (empty) already, and if he be as successful in the jail, he'll maybe preach it vawcant as weel."


The manager of a country theatre looked into the house between the acts, and turned with a face of dismay to the prompter, with the question of, "Why, good gracious, where's the audience?"—"Sir," replied the prompter, without moving a muscle, "he is just now gone to get some beer." The manager wiped the perspiration from his brow and said, "Will he return do you think?"—"Most certainly; he expresses himself highly satisfied with the play, and applauded as one man."—"Then let business proceed," exclaimed the manager, proudly; and it did proceed.


"I wish, reverend father," said Curran to Father O'Leary, "that you were St. Peter, and had the keys of heaven, because then you could let me in."—"By my honor and conscience," replied O'Leary, "it would be better for you that I had the keys of the other place, for then I could let you out."[Pg 184]


The late Bishop Blomfield, when a Suffolk clergyman, asked a school-boy what was meant in the Catechism by succoring his father and mother. "Giving on 'em milk," was the prompt reply.


In the reign of George II., Mr. Crowle, a counsel of some eminence, was summoned to the bar of the House of Commons to receive a reprimand from the Speaker, on his knees. As he rose from the ground, with the utmost nonchalance he took out his handkerchief, and, wiping his knees, cooly observed, "that it was the dirtiest house he had ever been in in his life."


A gentleman missing his watch in a crowd at the theatre, observed, with great coolness, that he should certainly recover it, having bought it of a friend who had introduced it to the particular acquaintance of every Pawnbroker within the Bills of Mortality.


Lord Mansfield used to remark that a lawyer could do nothing without his fee. This is proved by the following fact: Sir Anthony Malone, some years ago Attorney-General of Ireland, was a man of abilities in his profession, and so well skilled in the practice of conveyancing that no person ever entertained the least doubt of the validity of a title that had undergone his inspection; on which account he was generally applied to by men of property in transactions of this nature. It is, however, no less singular than true, that such was the carelessness and inattention of this great lawyer in matters of this sort that related to himself, that he made two bad bargains, for want only of the same attentive examination of the writings for which he was celebrated, in one of which he lost property to the amount of three thousand pounds a year. Disturbed by these losses, whenever for the future he had a mind to[Pg 185] purchase an estate for himself, he gave the original writings to his principal clerk, who made a correct transcript of them; this transcript was then handed to Sir Anthony, and five guineas (his fee) along with it, which was regularly charged to him by the clerk. Sir Anthony then went over the deeds with his accustomed accuracy and discernment, and never after that was possessed of a bad title.


To wonder now at Balaam's ass, is weak;
Is there a day that asses do not speak?


Jerrold was told that a certain well-puffed tragedian, who has a husky voice, was going to act Cardinal Wolsey,

Jerrold.—"Cardinal Wolsey!—Linsey Wolsey!"


A nobleman, extremely rich but a miser, stopping to change horses at Athlone, the carriage was surrounded by paupers, imploring alms, to whom he turned a deaf ear, and drew up the glass. A ragged old woman, going round to the other side of the carriage, bawled out, in the old peer's hearing, "Please you, my lord, just chuck one tin-penny out of your coach, and I'll answer it will trait all your friends in Athlone."


An Irishman charged with an assault, was asked by the judge whether he was guilty or not. "How can I tell," was the reply, "till I have heard the evidence?"


At ten, a child; at twenty, wild;
At thirty, tame, if ever;
At forty, wise; at fifty, rich;
At sixty, good, or never!


A melting sermon being preached in a country church,[Pg 186] all fell a-weeping but one man, who being asked why he did not weep with the rest, said, "O no, I belong to another parish."


Sir Walter Scott had marked in his diary a territorial greeting of two proprietors which had amused him much. The laird of Kilspindie had met the laird of Tannachy-Tulloch, and the following compliments passed between them: "Ye're maist obedient hummil servant, Tannachy-Tulloch." To which the reply was, "Your nain man, Kilspindie."


Counselor Rudd, of the Irish bar, was equally remarkable for his love of whist, and the dingy color of his linen. "My dear Dick," said Curran to him one day, "you can't think how puzzled we are to know where you buy all your dirty shirts."


Foote went to spend his Christmas with Mr. B——, when, the weather being very cold, and but bad fires, occasioned by a scarcity of wood in the house, Foote, on the third day after he went there, ordered his chaise, and was preparing to depart. Mr. B—— pressed him to stay. "No, no," says Foote; "was I to stay any longer, you would not let me have a leg to stand on; for there is so little wood in your house, that I am afraid one of your servants may light the fire with my right leg," which was his wooden one.


One hiring a lodging said to the landlady, "I assure you, madam, I am so much liked that I never left a lodging but my landlady shed tears."—"Perhaps," said she, "you always went away without paying."


Example is better than precept they say,
With our parson the maxim should run t'other way;
[Pg 187] For so badly he acts, and so wisely he teaches,
We should shun what he does, and should do what he preaches.


One of James Smith's favorite anecdotes related to Colonel Greville. The Colonel requested young James to call at his lodgings, and in the course of their first interview related the particulars of the most curious circumstance in his life. He was taken prisoner during the American war, along with three other officers of the same rank: one evening they were summoned into the presence of Washington, who announced to them that the conduct of their Government, in condemning one of his officers to death, as a rebel, compelled him to make reprisals; and that, much to his regret, he was under the necessity of requiring them to cast lots, without delay, to decide which of them should be hanged. They were then bowed out, and returned to their quarters. Four slips of paper were put into a hat, and the shortest was drawn by Captain Asgill, who exclaimed, "I knew how it would be; I never won so much as a hit at backgammon in my life." As Greville was selected to sit up with Captain Asgill, "And what," inquired Smith, "did you say to comfort him?"—"Why, I remember saying to him, when they left us, 'D—— it, old fellow, never mind!'" But it may be doubted (added Smith) whether he drew much comfort from the exhortation. Lady Asgill persuaded the French Minister to interpose, and the Captain was permitted to escape.


Major B——, a great gambler, said to Foote, "Since I last saw you, I have lost an eye."—"I am sorry for it," said Foote, "pray at what game?"


Some one who had been down in Lord Kenyon's kitchen, remarked that he saw the spit shining as bright as if it had never been used. "Why do you mention his spit?"[Pg 188] said Jekyll; "you must know that nothing turns upon that." In reference to the same noble lord, Jekyll observed, "It was Lent all the year round in the kitchen, and Passion week in the parlor."


A soldier, having retired from service, thought to raise a few pounds by writing his adventures. Having completed the manuscript, he offered it to a bookseller for forty pounds. It was a very small volume, and the bookseller was much surprised at his demand. "My good sir," replied the author, "as a soldier I have always resolved to sell my life as dearly as possible."


Sir Richard Jebb, the famous physician, who was very rough and harsh in his manner, once observed to a patient to whom he had been extremely rude, "Sir, it is my way."—"Then," returned his indignant patient, pointing to the door, "I beg you will make that your way!"


He that's married once may be
Pardoned his infirmity.
He that marries twice is mad:
But, if you can find a fool
Marrying thrice, don't spare the lad,—
Flog him, flog him back to school.


Brown and Smith were met by an overdressed individual, "Do you know that chap, Smith?" said Brown. "Yes, I know him; that is, I know of him,—he's a sculptor."—"Such a fellow as that a sculptor! surely you must be mistaken."—"He may not be the kind of one you mean, but I know that he chiselled a tailor—out of a suit of clothes last week."


"You have only yourself to please," said a married[Pg 189] friend to an old bachelor. "True," replied he, "but you cannot tell what a difficult task I find it."


James Smith used to tell, with great glee, a story showing the general conviction of his dislike to ruralities. He was sitting in the library at a country-house, when a gentleman proposed a quiet stroll in the pleasure-grounds:—

"Stroll! why, don't you see my gouty shoe?"

"Yes, I see that plain enough, and I wish I'd brought one too; but they are all out now."

"Well, and what then?"

"What then? why, my dear fellow, you don't mean to say that you have really got the gout? I thought you had only put on that shoe to get off being shown over the improvements."


An agricultural society offered premiums to farmers' daughters, "girls under twenty-one years of age," who should exhibit the best lots of butter, not less than 10 lbs. "That is all right," said an old maid, "save the insinuation that some girls are over twenty-one years of age."


A shopkeeper, who had stuck up a notice in glaring capitals, "Selling off! Must close on Saturday!" was asked by a friend, "What! are you selling off?"—"Yes, all the shopkeepers are selling off, ain't they?"—"But you say, 'Must close on Saturday.'"—"To be sure; would you have me keep open on Sunday!"


In preaching a charity sermon, Sydney Smith frequently repeated the assertion that, of all nations, Englishmen were most distinguished for their generosity, and the love of their species. The collection happened to be inferior to his expectation, and he said that he had evidently made a great mistake; for that his expression should have been, that they were distinguished for the love of their specie.[Pg 190]


When Dr. Johnson courted Mrs. Potter, whom he afterwards married, he told her that he was of mean extraction; that he had no money; and that he had had an uncle hanged! The lady, by way of reducing herself to an equality with the Doctor, replied, that she had no more money than himself; and that, though she had not had a relation hanged, she had fifty who deserved hanging.


To win the maid the poet tries,
And sonnets writes to Julia's eyes,
She likes a verse, but, cruel whim,
She still appears a-verse to him.


A few years ago, when Billy Burton, the American actor, was in his "trouble," a young lawyer was examining him as to how he had spent his money. There was about three thousand pounds unaccounted for, when the attorney put on a severe scrutinizing face, and exclaimed, with much self-complacency,—"Now, sir, I want you to tell this court and jury how you used those three thousand pounds." Burton put on one of his serio-comic faces, winked at the audience, and exclaimed, "The lawyers got that!" The judge and audience were convulsed with laughter. The counsellor was glad to let the comedian go.


It is asserted that the bad Ministers have contracted the National Debt. This cannot be; for instead of contracting it at all, bad Ministers have most materially extended it.


At a dinner-party one day a certain knight, whose character was considered to be not altogether unexceptionable, said he would give them a toast; and looking hard in the face of Mrs. M——, who was more celebrated for wit than beauty, gave "Honest men an' bonny lasses!"—"With[Pg 191] all my heart, Sir John," said Mrs. M——, "for it neither applies to you nor me."


Mr. Moore, who derived his pedigree from Noah, explained it in this manner: "Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and one more."


Old Dick Baldwin stoutly maintained that no man ever died of drinking. "Some puny things," he said, "have died of learning to drink, but no man ever died of drinking." Mr. Baldwin was no mean authority; for he spoke from great practical experience, and was, moreover, many years treasurer of St. Bartholomew's Hospital.


The late Dr. Risk, of Dalserf, being one of the moderators, did not satisfy, by his preaching, the Calvinistic portion of his flock. "Why, sir," said they, "we think you dinna tell us enough about renouncing our ain righteousness."—"Renouncing your ain righteousness!" vociferated the astonished doctor, "I never saw any ye had to renounce!"


At an evening party, a very elderly lady was dancing with a young partner. A stranger approached Jerrold, who was looking on, and said,—

"Pray, sir, can you tell me who is the young gentleman dancing with that very elderly lady!"

"One of the Humane Society, I should think," replied Jerrold.


Mathews, whose powers in conversation and whose flow of anecdote in private life transcended even his public efforts, told a variety of tales of the Kingswood colliers (Kingswood is near Bristol), in one of which he represented[Pg 192] an old collier, looking for some of the implements of his trade, exclaiming, "Jan, what's the mother done with the new coal-sacks?"—"Made pillows on 'em," replied the son. "Confound her proud heart!" rejoins the collier, "why could she not take th' ould ones?"


A very considerate hotel-keeper, advertising his "Burton XXXX," concludes the advertisement: "N.B. Parties drinking more than four glasses of this potent beverage at one sitting, carefully sent home gratis in a wheelbarrow, if required."


Charles II. and his brother James went to see Milton, to reproach him, and finished a profusion of insults with saying, "You old villain! your blindness is the visitation of Providence for your sins."—"If Providence," replied the venerable bard, "has punished my sins with blindness, what must have been the crimes of your father which it punished with death!"


Sydney Smith being ill, his physician advised him to "take a walk upon an empty stomach."—"Upon whose?" said he.


It is related, that when a former Bishop of Bristol held the office of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, he one day met a couple of undergraduates, who neglected to pay the accustomed compliment of capping. The bishop inquired the reason of the neglect. The two men begged his lordship's pardon, observing they were freshmen, and did not know him. "How long have you been in Cambridge?" asked his lordship. "Only eight days," was the reply. "Very good," said the bishop, "puppies never see till they are nine days old."[Pg 193]


(On Lord W——'s saying the independence of the House of Lords is gone.)

"The independence of the Lords is gone,"
Says W——, to truth for once inclined;
And to believe his lordship I am prone,
Seeing that he himself is left behind.


On the first night of the representation of one of Jerrold's pieces, a successful adaptator from the French rallied him on his nervousness. "I," said the adaptator, "never feel nervous on the first night of my pieces."—"Ah, my boy," Jerrold replied, "you are always certain of success. Your pieces have all been tried before."


A well-known borrower stopped a gentleman whom he did not know, and requested the loan of a sovereign. "Sir," said the gentleman, "I am surprised that you should ask me such a favor, who do not know you."—"O, dear sir," replied the borrower, "that's the very reason; for those who do, will not lend me a farthing."


At a provincial Law Society's dinner the president called upon the senior attorney to give as a toast the person whom he considered the best friend of the profession. "Certainly," was the response. "The man who makes his own will."


A person lamented the difficulty he found in persuading his friends to return the volumes which he had lent them. "Sir," replied a friend, "your acquaintances find it is much more easy to retain the books themselves, than what is contained in them."[Pg 194]


When the Duke of Northumberland first called to see Mr. Bewick's workshops at Newcastle, he was not personally known to the engraver. On discovering the high rank of his visitor, Bewick exclaimed, "I beg pardon, my lord, I did not know your grace, and was unaware I had the honor of talking to so great a man." To which the Duke good humoredly replied, "You are a much greater man than I am, Mr. Bewick." To this Bewick answered, "No, my lord: but were I Duke of Northumberland, perhaps I could be."


Mr. Brougham, when at the bar, opened before Lord Chief Justice Tenterden an action for the amount of a wager laid upon the event of a dog-fight, which, through some unwillingness of dogs or men, had not been brought to an issue. "We, my lord," said the advocate, "were minded that the dogs should fight."—"Then I," replied the Judge, "am minded to hear no more of it:" and he called another cause.


To all letters soliciting "subscriptions," Lord Erskine had a regular form of reply, namely: "Sir, I feel much honored by your application to me, and beg to subscribe" (here the reader had to turn over leaf) "Myself, your very obedient servant," etc.


Bishop Burnet relates a curious circumstance respecting the origin of that important statute, the Habeas Corpus Act. "It was carried," says he, "by an odd artifice in the House of Lords. Lord Grey and Lord Norris were named to be the tellers. Lord Norris was not at all times attentive to what he was doing; so a very fat lord coming in, Lord Grey counted him for ten, as a jest at first; but seeing Lord Norris had not observed it, he went on with this misreckoning of ten; so it was reported to the House,[Pg 195] and declared that they who were for the bill were the majority, and by this means the bill passed."


Douglas Jerrold describing a very dangerous illness from which he had just recovered, said—"Ay, sir, it was a runaway knock at Death's door, I can assure you."


Two gentlemen having a difference, one went to the other's door and wrote "Scoundrel!" upon it. The other called upon his neighbor, and was answered by a servant that his master was not at home. "No matter," was the reply; "I only wished to return his visit, as he left his name at my door in the morning."


Jekyll saw in Colman's chambers a squirrel in the usual round cage. "Ah! poor devil," said Jekyll, "he's going the Home Circuit."


A spendthrift being sold up, Foote, who attended every day, bought nothing but a pillow; on which a gentleman asked him, "What particular use he could have for a single pillow?"—"Why," said Foote, "I do not sleep very well at night, and I am sure this must give me many a good nap, when the proprietor of it (though he owed so much) could sleep upon it."


Wit in an influential form was displayed by the Quaker gentleman soliciting subscription for a distressed widow, for whom everybody expressed the greatest sympathy. "Well," said he, "everybody declares he is sorry for her; I am truly sorry—I am sorry five pounds. How much art thou sorry, friend? and thou? and thou?" He was very successful, as may be supposed. One of those to whom the case was described said he felt very much, indeed,[Pg 196] for the poor widow. "But hast thou felt in thy pocket?" inquired the "Friend."


A tailor that was ever accustomed to steal some of the cloth his customer brought, when he came one day to make himself a suit, stole half-a-yard. His wife perceiving it, asked the reason; "Oh," said he, "it is to keep my hands in use, lest at any time I should forget it."


(On a certain M.P.'s indisposition.)

Haste son of Celsus, P—rc—v—l is ill;
Dissect an ass before you try your skill.


Use brandy externally until the hair grows, and then take it internally to clinch the roots.


The Irish girl told her forbidden lover she was longing to possess his portrait, and intended to obtain it. "But how if your friends see it?" inquired he. "Ah, but I'll tell the artist not to make it like you, so they won't know it."


At the trial of the rebel lords, George Selwyn, seeing Bethel's sharp visage looking wistfully at the prisoners, said, "What a shame it is to turn her face to the prisoners, until they are condemned!"

Some women were scolding Selwyn for going to see the execution, and asked him how he could be such a barbarian to see the head cut off? "Nay," replied he, "if that was such a crime, I am sure I have made amends; for I went to see it sewed on again."

Walpole relates: "You know Selwyn never thinks but à la tête tranchée." On having a tooth drawn, he told the man that he would drop his handkerchief for the signal.[Pg 197]


"How are you this morning?" said Fawcett to Cooke.

"Not at all myself," says the tragedian. "Then I congratulate you," replied Fawcett; "for, be whoever else you will, you will be a gainer by the bargain."


Walking to his club one evening with a friend, some intoxicated young gentleman reeled up to Douglas Jerrold, and said: "Can you tell us the way to the 'Judge and Jury?'" (a place of low entertainment). "Keep on as you are, young gentleman," was the reply, "you're sure to overtake them."


Jerrold was enjoying a drive one day with a well-known,—a jovial spendthrift.

"Well, Jerrold," said the driver of a very fine pair of grays, "what do you think of my grays?"

"To tell you the truth," Jerrold replied, "I was just thinking of your duns!"


When Dr. Johnson visited Mrs. Siddons, he paid her two or three very elegant compliments. When she retired, he said to Dr. Glover, "Sir, she is a prodigiously fine woman."—"Yes," replied Dr. Glover; "but don't you think she is much finer upon the stage, when she is adorned by art?"—"Sir," said Dr. Johnson, "on the stage art does not adorn her: nature adorns her there, and art glorifies her."


The Duke of L.'s reply, when it was observed to him, that the gentlemen bordering on his estates were continually hunting upon them, and that he ought not to suffer it, is worthy of imitation: "I had much rather," said he, "have friends than hares."[Pg 198]


A diminutive attorney, named Else, once asked Jekyll: "Sir, I hear you have called me a pettifogging scoundrel. Have you done so, sir?"—"No, sir," said Jekyll, with a look of contempt. "I never said you were a pettifogger, or a scoundrel; but I did say you were little Else."


A person wishing to test whether a daft individual, about whom a variety of opinions were entertained,—some people thinking him not so foolish as he seemed,—knew the value of money, held out a sixpence and a penny, and offered him his choice. "I'll tak' the wee ane," he says, giving as his modest reason, "I'se no' be greedy." At another time, a miller, laughing at him for his witlessness, he said, "Some things I ken, and some I dinna ken." On being asked what he knew, he said, "I ken a miller has aye a gey fat sou."—"An' what d'ye no ken?" said the miller. "Ou," he returned, "I dinna ken at wha's expense she's fed."


My hair and I are quit, d'ye see;
I first cut him, he now cuts me.


Two gentlemen standing together, as a young lady passed by them, one said, "There goes the handsomest woman you ever saw." She turned back, and, seeing him very ugly, said, "I wish I could, in return, say as much of you."—"So you may, madam," said he, "and lie as I did."


General Lee one day found Dr. Cutting, the army surgeon, who was a handsome and dressy man, arranging his cravat complacently before a glass. "Cutting," said Lee, "you must be the happiest man in creation."—"Why, general?"—"Because," replied Lee, "you[Pg 199] are in love with yourself, and you have not a rival upon earth."


Your comedy I've read, my friend,
And like the half you've pilfered best;
But, sure, the Drama you might mend;
Take courage, man, and steal the rest!


"The Lying Valet" being one hot night annexed as an afterpiece to the comedy of "The Devil upon Two Sticks," Garrick, coming into the Green Room, with exultation called out to Foote, "Well, Sam, I see, after all, you are glad to take up with one of my farces."—"Why, yes, David," rejoined the wit; "what could I do better? I must have some ventilator for this hot weather."


When Lord Lauderdale intimated his intentions to repeat some good thing Sheridan had mentioned to him, "Pray, don't, my dear Lauderdale," said the wit; "a joke in your mouth is no laughing matter!"


It is said that poor H—— T—— has been living on his wits. He certainly must be content with very limited premises.


One of the judges of the King's Bench, in an argument on the construction of a will, sagely declared, "It appeared to him that the testator meant to keep a life-interest in the estate to himself."—"Very true, my lord," said Curran gravely; "but in this case I rather think your lordship takes the will for the deed."


In a dispute, whether the letter H was really a letter or a simple aspiration, Rowland Hill contended that it was[Pg 200] the former; adding that, if it were not a letter, it must have been a very serious affair to him, by making him ill (Hill without H) all the days of his life.


Sheridan was once staying at the house of an elderly maiden lady in the country, who wanted more of his company than he was willing to give. Proposing one day to take a stroll with him, he excused himself on account of the badness of the weather. Shortly afterwards she met him sneaking out alone. "So, Mr. Sheridan," said she, "it has cleared up."—"Just a little, ma'am—enough for one, but not enough for two."


Curran's ruling passion was his joke. In his last illness, his physician observing in the morning that he seemed to cough with more difficulty, he answered, "That is rather surprising, as I have been practising all night."


(On the charge of illegally pawning brought against Captain B——, M.P.)

If it's true a newly made M.P.
Has coolly pawned his landlord's property,
As the said landlord certainly alleges,
No more will Radicals and Whigs divide
Upon one point, which thus we may decide,
"Some members are too much disposed for pledges."


A gentleman, who was remarkable at once for Bacchanalian devotion and remarkably large and starting eyes, was one evening the subject of conversation. The question appeared to be, whether the gentleman in question wore upon his face any signs of his excesses. "I think so," said Jerrold; "I always know when he has been in his cups by the state of his saucers."[Pg 201]


Kemble playing Hamlet in the country, the gentleman who acted Guildenstern was, or imagined himself to be, a capital musician. Hamlet asks him, "Will you play upon this pipe?"—"My lord, I cannot."—"I pray you."—"Believe me, I cannot."—"I do beseech you."—"Well, if your lordship insists on it, I shall do as well as I can"; and to the confusion of Hamlet, and the great amusement of the audience, he played "God save the king!"


Several ex-members are announced as about to stand at the ensuing elections, and indeed it is probable many will have to do so after them, for there are very few who can reasonably expect to sit.—G. A'B.


A man who had a brother, a priest, was asked, "Has your brother a living?"—"No."—"How does he employ himself?"—"He says mass in the morning."—"And in the evening?"—"In the evening he don't know what he says."


Sir B—— R——, in one of the debates on the question of the Union, made a speech in favor of it, which he concluded by saying, "That it would change the barren hills into fruitful valleys."


The Duke of C—mb—l—d has taken from this country a thing which not one person in it will grudge: of course we are understood at once to mean his departure.—G. A'B.


A certain lawyer received a severe injury from something in the shape of a horsewhip. "Where were you hurt?" said a medical friend. "Was it near the vertebra?"—"No,[Pg 202] no," said the other; "it was near the racecourse."


When Reginald Heber read his prize poem of "Palestine" to Sir Walter Scott, the latter observed that, in the verses on Solomon's Temple, one striking circumstance had escaped him; namely, that no tools were used in its erection. Reginald retired for a few minutes to the corner of the room, and returned with the beautiful lines:—

"No hammer fell, no ponderous axes rung;
Like some tall palm, the mystic fabric sprung.
Majestic silence," &c.


Many anecdotes might be collected to show the great difficulty of discovering a person in the collieries without being in possession of his nickname. The following was received from a respectable attorney. During his clerkship he was sent to serve some legal process on a man whose name and address were given to him with legacy accuracy. He traversed the village to which he had been directed from end to end without success; and after spending many hours in the search was about to abandon it in despair, when a young woman who had witnessed his labors kindly undertook to make inquiries for him, and began to hail her friends for that purpose. "Oi say, Bullyed, does thee know a man named Adam Green?" The bull-head was shaken in sign of ignorance. "Loy-a-bed, does thee?" Lie-a-bed's opportunities of making acquaintance had been rather limited, and she could not resolve the difficulty. Stumpy (a man with a wooden leg), Cowskin, Spindleshanks, Corkeye, Pigtail, and Yellowbelly were severally invoked, but in vain; and the querist fell into a brown study, in which she remained for some time. At length, however, her eyes suddenly brightened, and, slapping one of her companions on the shoulder, she exclaimed, triumphantly, "Dash my wig! whoy he means my feyther!" and then, turning to the gentleman, she added, "You should ha' ax'd for Ould Blackbird!"[Pg 203]


Foote was once met by a friend in town with a young man who was flashing away very brilliantly, while Foote seemed grave: "Why, Foote," said his friend, "you are flat to-day; you don't seem to relish a joke!"—"You have not tried me yet, sir," said Foote.


Mr. Elliston was enacting the part of Richmond; and having, during the evening, disobeyed the injunction which the King of Denmark lays down to the Queen, "Gertrude, do not drink," he accosted Mr. Powell, who was personating Lord Stanley (for the safety of whose son Richmond is naturally anxious), thus, on his entry, after the issue of the battle:—

Elliston (as Richmond). Your son, George Stanley, is he dead?

Powell (as Lord Stanley). He is, my Lord, and safe in Leicester town!

Elliston (as Richmond). I mean—ah!—is he missing?

Powell (as Lord Stanley). He is, my Lord, and safe in Leicester town!!

And it is but justice to the memory of this punctilious veteran, to say that he would have made the same reply to any question which could, at that particular moment, have been put to him.


(On a little member's versatility.)

Why little Neddy —— yearns
To rat, there is a reason strong,
He needs be everything by turns,
Who is by nature nothing long.


The regular routine of clerkly business ill suited the literary tastes and the wayward habits of Charles Lamb. Once, at the India House, a superior said to him, "I have remarked, Mr. Lamb, that you come very late to the[Pg 204] office."—"Yes, sir," replied the wit, "but you must remember that I go away early." The oddness of the excuse silenced the reprover.


Curran, who was a very small man, having a dispute with a brother counsel (who was a very stout man), in which words ran high on both sides, called him out. The other, however, objected. "You are so little," said he, "that I might fire at you a dozen times without hitting, whereas, the chance is that you may shoot me at the first fire."—"To convince you," cried Curran, "I don't wish to take any advantage, you shall chalk my size upon your body, and all hits out of the ring shall go for nothing."


Hook was walking one day with a friend, when the latter, pointing out on a dead wall an incomplete inscription, running, "Warren's B——," was puzzled at the moment for the want of the context. "'Tis lacking that should follow," observed Hook, in explanation.


From a wife of small fortune, but yet very proud,
Who values herself on her family's blood:
Who seldom talks sense, but for ever is loud,
Libera me!
From living i' th' parish that has an old kirk,
Where the parson would rule like a Jew or a Turk,
And keep a poor curate to do all his work,
Libera me!
From a justice of peace who forgives no offence,
But construes the law in its most rigid sense,
And still to bind over will find some pretence,
Libera me!
From dealing with great men and taking their word,
From waiting whole mornings to speak with my lord,
Who puts off his payments, and puts on his sword,
Libera me!
[Pg 205]
From Black-coats, who never the Gospel yet taught,
From Red-coats, who never a battle yet fought,
From Turn-coats, whose inside and outside are naught,
Libera me!


A lady, proud of her rank and title, once compared the three classes of people, nobility, gentry, and commonalty, to china, delf, and crockery. A few minutes elapsed, when one of the company expressed a wish to see the lady's little girl, who, it was mentioned, was in the nursery. "John," said she to the footman, "tell the maid to bring the little dear." The footman, wishing to expose his mistress's ridiculous pride, cried, loud enough to be heard by every one,—"Crockery! bring down little China."


A correspondent, something new
Transmitting, signed himself X.Q.
The editor his letter read,
And begged he might be X.Q.Z.


It is a common occurrence in the University of Cambridge for the undergraduates to express their approbation or disapprobation of the Vice-Chancellor, on the resignation of his office. Upon an occasion of this kind, a certain gentleman had enacted some regulations which had given great offence; and, when the senate had assembled in order that he might resign his office to another, a great hissing was raised in disapprobation of his conduct; upon which, bowing courteously, he made the following elegant retort:—

"Laudatur ab his."


A visitor at Churchtown, North Meols, thought people must like to be buried in the churchyard there, because it was so healthy.[Pg 206]


A knavish attorney asking a very worthy gentleman what was honesty, "What is that to you?" said he; "meddle with those things that concern you."


I heard last week, friend Edward, thou wast dead,
I'm very glad to hear it, too, cries Ned.


George Selwyn once affirmed, in company, that no woman ever wrote a letter without a postscript. "My next letter shall refute you!" said Lady G——. Selwyn soon after received a letter from her ladyship, where, after her signature, stood: "P.S. Who was right; you or I?"


Cooke was announced one evening to play the Stranger at the Dublin Theatre. When he made his appearance, evident marks of agitation were visible in his countenance and gestures: this, by the generality of the audience, was called fine acting; but those who were acquainted with his failing, classed it very properly under the head of intoxication. When the applause had ceased, with difficulty he pronounced, "Yonder hut—yonder hut," pointing to the cottage; then beating his breast, and striking his forehead, he paced the stage in much apparent agitation of mind. Still this was taken as the chef-d'œuvre of fine acting, and was followed by loud plaudits, and "Bravo! bravo!" At length, having cast many a menacing look at the prompter, who repeatedly, though in vain, gave him the word, he came forward, and, with overacted feeling, thus addressed the audience: "You are a mercantile people—you know the value of money—a thousand pounds, my all, lent to serve a friend, is lost for ever. My son, too—pardon the feelings of a parent—my only son—as brave a youth as ever fought his country's battles, is slain—not many hours ago I received the intelligence; but he died in the defence of his King!" Here his feelings became[Pg 207] so powerful that they choked his utterance, and, with his handkerchief to his eyes, he staggered off the stage, amidst the applause of those who, not knowing the man, pitied his situation. Now, the fact is, Cooke never possessed £1,000 in his life, nor had he ever the honor of being a father; but, too much intoxicated to recollect his part, he invented this story, as the only way by which he could decently retire; and the sequel of the business was, that he was sent home in a chair, whilst another actor played the part.


"Come here, Johnny, and tell me what the four seasons are." Young Prodigy: "Pepper, salt, mustard, and vinegar."


A weaver, after enjoying his potations, pursued his way home through the churchyard, his vision and walking somewhat impaired. As he proceeded, he diverged from the path, and unexpectedly stumbled into a partially made grave. Stunned for a while, he lay in wonder at his descent, and after some time he got out, but he had not proceeded much further when a similar calamity befell him. At this second fall, he was heard, in a tone of wonder and surprise, to utter the following exclamation, referring to what he considered the untenanted graves, "Ay! ir ye a' up an' awa?"


On the evening of the coronation-day of our gracious Queen, the Benchers of Lincoln's Inn gave the students a feed; when a certain profane wag, in giving out a verse of the National Anthem, which he was solicited to lead in a solo, took that opportunity of stating a grievance as to the modicum of port allowed, in manner and form following:—

"Happy and glorious"—
Three half-pints 'mong four of us,
Heaven send no more of us,
God save the Queen!

which ridiculous perversion of the author's meaning was[Pg 208] received with a full chorus, amid tremendous shouts of laughter and applause.


How wisely Nature, ordering all below,
Forbade a beard on woman's chin to grow,
For how could she be shaved (whate'er the skill)
Whose tongue would never let her chin be still!


Henderson, the actor, was seldom known to be in a passion. When at Oxford, he was one day debating with a fellow-student, who, not keeping his temper, threw a glass of wine in the actor's face; when Henderson took out his handkerchief, wiped his face, and cooly said, "That, sir, was a digression: now for the argument."


Don't give your mind to lying. A lie may do very well for a time, but, like a bad shilling, it's found out at last.—D.J.


A person addicted to lying, relating a story to another, which made him stare, "Did you never hear that before?" said the narrator. "No," says the other: "Pray, sir, did you?"


Charles Mathews, seated on a coach-box on a frosty day, waiting for the driver, said to him when at length he appeared: "If you stand here much longer, Mr. Coachman, your horses will be like Captain Parry's ships."—"How's that, sir?"—"Why, frozen at the pole!"


Under the improved system of agriculture and of draining, great preparations had been made for securing a good crop in a certain field, where Lord Fife, his factor,[Pg 209] and others interested in the subject were collected together. There was much discussion, and some difference of opinion as to the crop with which the field had best be sown. The idiot retainer, who had been listening unnoticed to all that was said, at last cried out, "Saw't wi' factors, ma lord; they are sure to thrive everywhere."


Never confide in a young man,—new pails leak. Never tell your secret to the aged,—old doors seldom shut closely.


When citizen Thelwall was on his trial at the Old Bailey for high treason, during the evidence for the prosecution he wrote the following note, and sent it to his counsel, Mr. Erskine: "I am determined to plead my cause myself." Mr. Erskine wrote under it: "If you do, you'll be hanged:" to which Thelwall immediately returned this reply: "I'll be hanged, then, if I do."


A shilling subscription having been set on foot to bury an attorney who had died very poor, Lord Chief Justice Norbury exclaimed, "Only a shilling to bury an attorney! Here's a guinea; go and bury one-and-twenty of them."


A person, hearing that "Time is Money," became desirous of learning how many years it would take "to pay a little debt of a hundred pounds!"


Lord Derby once said that Ireland was positively worse than it is represented. "That's intended," said A'Beckett, "as a sinister insult to the members who represent that wretched country."[Pg 210]


If by their names we things should call,
It surely would be properer,
To term a singing piece a bawl,
A dancing piece a hopperer!


One of a party of friends, referring to an exquisite musical composition, said: "That song always carries me away when I hear it."—"Can anybody whistle it?" asked Jerrold, laughing.


A fire-eating Irishman challenged a barrister, who gratified him by an acceptance. The duellist, being very lame, requested that he might have a prop. "Suppose," said he, "I lean against this milestone?"—"With pleasure," replied the lawyer, "on condition that I may lean against the next." The joke settled the quarrel.


A very dull play was talked of, and one attempted a defence by saying, "It was not hissed."—"True," said another; "no one can hiss and gape at the same time."


A French nobleman once showing Matthew Prior the palace of his master at Versailles, and desiring him to observe the many trophies of Louis the Fourteenth's victories, asked Prior if King William, his master, had many such trophies in his palace. "No," said Prior, "the monuments of my master's victories are to be seen everywhere but in his own house."


When Baron Martin was at the Bar and addressing the Court of Exchequer in an insurance case, he was interrupted by Mr. Baron Alderson observing: "Mr. Martin,[Pg 211] do you think any office would insure your life? Remember, yours is a brief existence."


A philosopher being asked of whom he had acquired so much knowledge, replied, "Of the blind, who do not lift their feet until they have first sounded, with their stick, the ground on which they are going to tread."


We are terribly afraid that some Americans spit upon the floor, even when that floor is covered by good carpets. Now all claims to civilization are suspended till this secretion is otherwise disposed of. No English gentleman has spit upon the floor since the Heptarchy.—S.S.


A great pretender to gentility
Came to a herald for his pedigree:
The herald, knowing what he was, begun
To rumble o'er his heraldry; which done,
Told him he was a gentleman of note,
And that he had a very glorious coat.
"Prithee, what is 't?" quoth he, "and take your fees."
"Sir," says the herald, "'tis two rampant trees,
One couchant; and, to give it further scope,
A ladder passant, and a pendent rope.
And, for a grace unto your blue-coat sleeves,
There is a bird i' th' crest that strangles thieves."


A glorious bull is related, in the life of Dr. Sims, of a countryman of his, an Irishman, for whom he had prescribed an emetic, who said with great naiveté: "My dear doctor, it is of no use your giving me an emetic! I tried it twice in Dublin, and it would not stay on my stomach either time."


In marriage, as in war, it is permitted to take every advantage of the enemy.[Pg 212]


Pope, when he first saw Garrick act, observed, "I am afraid that the young man will be spoiled, for he will have no competitor!"


A spendthrift said, "Five years ago I was not worth a farthing in the world; now see where I am through my own exertions."—"Well, where are you?" inquired a neighbor. "Why, I now owe more than a thousand pounds!"


In former days, when roads were bad, and wheeled vehicles almost unknown, an old laird was returning from a supper party, with his lady mounted behind him on horseback. On crossing the river Urr, the old lady dropped off, but was not missed till her husband reached his door. The party who were despatched in quest of her, arrived just in time to find her remonstrating with the advancing tide, which trickled into her mouth, in these words, "No anither drap; neither het nor cauld."


A retired cheesemonger, who hated any allusions to the business that had enriched him, said to Charles Lamb, in course of discussion on the Poor-Laws, "You must bear in mind, sir, that I have got rid of that sort of stuff which you poets call the 'milk of human kindness.'" Lamb looked at him steadily, and replied, "Yes, I am aware of that,—you turned it all into cheese several years ago!"


"Are you guilty, or not guilty?" asked the clerk of arraigns of a prisoner the other day. "An' sure now," said Pat, "what are you put there for but to find that out?"[Pg 213]


A man in a passion spoke many scurrilous words; a friend being by, said, "You speak foolishly." He answered, "It is that you may understand me."


Frank, who will any friend supply,
Lent me ten guineas.—"Come," said I,
"Give me a pen, it is but fair
You take my note." Quoth he, "Hold there;
Jack! to the cash I've bid adieu;—
No need to waste my paper too."


A celebrated wit was asked why he did not marry a young lady to whom he was much attached. "I know not" he replied, "except the great regard we have for each other."


Garrick and Rigby, once walking together in Norfolk, observed upon a board at a house by the roadside, the following strange inscription: "a goes koored hear."—"How is it possible," said Rigby, "that such people as these can cure agues?"—"I do not know," replied Garrick, "what their prescription is,—but it is not by a spell."


A jolly good fellow had an office next to a doctor's. One day an elderly gentleman of the foggy school blundered into the wrong shop: "Dr. X—— in?"—"Don't live here," says P——, who was in full scribble over some important papers, without looking up. "Oh, I thought this was his office."—"Next door."—"Pray, sir, can you tell me, has the doctor many patients?"—"Not living!" The old gentleman was never more heard of in the vicinity.[Pg 214]


An Irishman, who lived in an attic, being asked what part of the house he occupied, answered, "If the house were turned topsy-turvy, I'd be livin' on the first flure."


His degradation is complete,
His name with loss of honor branding:
When he resolved to win his seat
He literally lost his standing.


A late noble statesman, more famous for his wit than his love of music, being asked why he did not subscribe to the Ancient Concerts, and it being urged as a reason for it that his brother, the Bishop of W——, did: "Oh," replied his lordship, "if I was as deaf as my brother, I would subscribe too."


A fashionable Irish gentleman, driving a good deal about Cheltenham, was observed to have the not very graceful habit of lolling his tongue out as he went along. Curran, who was there, was asked what he thought could be his countryman's motive for giving the instrument of eloquence such an airing. "Oh!" said he, "he's trying to catch the English accent."


Dr. Jowett, who was a small man, was permitted by the head of his college to cultivate a strip of vacant ground. This gave rise to some jeux d'esprit among the wags of the University, which induced him to alter it into a plot of gravel, and Porson burst forth with the following extemporaneous lines:—

A little garden little Jowett made,
And fenced it with a little palisade;
[Pg 215] Because this garden made a little talk,
He changed it to a little gravel walk;
And now, if more you'd know of little Jowett,
A little time, it will a little show it.


Brevity is in writing what charity is to all other virtues. Righteousness is worth nothing without the one, nor authorship without the other.


Baron N., once playing at cards, was guilty of an odd trick; on which his opponent threw him out of the window of a one-pair-of-stairs room. The baron meeting Foote complained of this usage, and asked what he should do? "Do," says the wit, "never play so high again as long as you live."


Quin had been dining, and his host expressed his regret that he could offer no more wine, as he had lost the key of his wine-cellar. While the coffee was getting ready the host showed his guest some natural curiosities, and among the rest an ostrich. "Do you know, sir, that this bird has one very remarkable property—he will swallow iron?"—"Then very likely," said Quin, "he has swallowed the key of your wine-cellar!"


Sydney Smith said that "the Court of Chancery was like a boa-constrictor, which swallowed up the estates of English gentlemen in haste, and digested them at leisure."


A jack-tar just returned from sea, determined to commit matrimony, but at the altar the parson demurred, as there was not cash enough between them to pay the fees: on which Jack, thrusting a few shillings into the sleeve of his cassock, exclaimed, "Never mind, brother, marry us as far as it will go."[Pg 216]


Smith and Brown, running opposite ways round a corner, struck each other. "Oh dear!" says Smith, "how you made my head ring!"—"That's a sign it's hollow," said Brown. "Didn't yours ring?" said Smith. "No," said Brown. "That's a sign it's cracked," replied his friend.


One communion Sabbath, the precentor observed the noble family of —— approaching the tables, and likely to be kept out by those pressing in before them. Being very zealous for their accommodation, he called out to an individual whom he considered the principal obstacle in clearing the passage, "Come back, Jock, and let in the noble family of ——," and then turning to his psalm-book, took up his duty, and went on to read the line, "Nor stand in sinners' way."


A young counsel commenced his stammering speech with the remark, "The unfortunate client who appears by me—" and then he came to a full stop; beginning again, after an embarrassed pause with a repetition of the remark, "My unfortunate client—." He did not find his fluency of speech quickened by the calm raillery of the judge, who interposed, in his softest tone, "Pray go on, so far the court is quite with you."


Kean once played Young Norval to Mrs. Siddons's Lady Randolph: after the play, as Kean used to relate, Mrs. Siddons came to him, and patting him on the head, said, "You have played very well, sir, very well. It's a pity,—but there's too little of you to do anything."

Coleridge said of this "little" actor: "Kean is original; but he copies from himself. His rapid descent from the hyper-tragic to the infra-colloquial, though sometimes productive of great effect, are often unreasonable. To see him act, is like reading 'Shakespeare' by flashes of lightning.[Pg 217] I do not think him thorough-bred gentleman enough to play Othello."


As for me, as soon as I hear that the last farthing is paid to the last creditor, I will appear on my knees at the bar of the Pennsylvanian Senate in the plumeopicean robe of American controversy. Each Conscript Jonathan shall trickle over me a few drops of tar, and help to decorate me with those penal plumes in which the vanquished reasoner of the transatlantic world does homage to the physical superiority of his opponents.—S.S.


The best fellow in the world, sir, to get money of; for as he sends you half cash, half wine, why, if you can't take up his bill, you've always poison at hand for a remedy.—D.J.


A man, who pretended to have seen a ghost, was asked what the ghost said to him? "How should I understand," replied the narrator, "what he said? I am not skilled in any of the dead languages."


The Bishop preached: "My friends," said he,
"How sweet a thing is charity,
The choicest gem in virtue's casket!"
"It is, indeed," sighed miser B.,
"And instantly I'll go and—ask it."


An Irishman, swearing the peace against his three sons, thus concluded his affidavit: "And this deponent further saith, that the only one of his children who showed him any real filial affection was his youngest son Larry, for he never struck him when he was down!"[Pg 218]


The death of Mr. Holland, of Drury Lane Theatre, who was the son of a baker at Chiswick, had a very great effect upon the spirits of Foote, who had a very warm friendship for him. Being a legatee, as well as appointed by the will of the deceased one of his bearers, he attended the corpse to the family vault at Chiswick, and there very sincerely paid a plentiful tribute of tears to his memory. On his return to town, Harry Woodward asked him if he had not been paying the last compliment to his friend Holland? "Yes, poor fellow," says Foote, almost weeping at the same time, "I have just seen him shoved into the family oven."


The air of France! nothing to the air of England. That goes ten times as far,—it must, for it's ten times as thick.—D.J.


Very dry and pithy too was a legal opinion given to a claimant of the Annandale peerage, who, when pressing the employment of some obvious forgeries, was warned, that if he persevered, nae doot he might be a peer, but it would be a peer o' anither tree!


A sceptical man, conversing with Dr. Parr, observed that he would believe nothing that he did not understand. Dr. Parr, replied, "Then young man, your creed will be the shortest of any man's I know."


A Scotch lady, who was discomposed by the introduction of gas, asked with much earnestness, "What's to become o' the puir whales?" deeming their interests materially affected by this superseding of their oil.


"Come down, this instant," said the boatswain to a[Pg 219] mischievous son of Erin, who had been idling in the round-top; "come down, I say, and I'll give you a good dozen, you rascal!"—"Troth, sur, I wouldn't come down if you'd give me two dozen!"


Harry Erskine made a neat remark to Walter Scott after he got his Clerkship of Session. The scheme to bestow it on him had been begun by the Tories, but (most honorably) was completed by the Whigs, and after the fall of the latter, Harry met the new Clerk, and congratulated him on his appointment, which he liked all the better, as it was a "Lay of the Last Ministry!"


As a west-country mayor, with formal address,
Was making his speech to the haughty Queen Bess,
"The Spaniard," quoth he, "with inveterate spleen,
Has presumed to attack you, a poor virgin queen,
But your majesty's courage soon made it appear
That his Donship had ta'en the wrong sow by the ear."


In the midst of a stormy discussion, a gentleman rose to settle the matter in dispute. Waving his hands majestically over the excited disputants, he began:—

"Gentlemen, all I want is common sense—"

"Exactly," Jerrold interrupted, "that is precisely what you do want!"

The discussion was lost in a burst of laughter.


The Rev. William Cole, of Cambridge, nicknamed the Cardinal, was remarkable for what is called a "comfortable assurance." Dining in a party at the University, he took up from the table a gold snuff-box, belonging to the gentleman seated next to him, and bluntly remarked that "It was big enough to hold the freedom of a corporation."—"Yes, Mr. Cole," replied the owner; "it would hold any freedom but yours."[Pg 220]


Mr. Henry Erskine (brother of Lord Buchan and Lord Erskine), after being presented to Dr. Johnson by Mr. Boswell, and having made his bow, slipped a shilling into Boswell's hand, whispering that it was for the sight of his bear.


Reader, beware immoderate love of pelf,
Here lies the worst of thieves,—who robbed himself.


Some schoolboys meeting a poor woman driving asses, one of them said to her, "Good morning, mother of asses."—"Good morning, my child," was the reply.


George the Third once said to Sir J. Irwin, a famous bon-vivant, "They tell me, Sir John, you love a glass of wine."—"Those, sire, who have so reported me to your Majesty," answered he, bowing profoundly, "do me great injustice; they should have said,—a bottle!"


They say love's like the measles,—all the worse when it comes late in life.—D.J.


A very plain actor being addressed on the stage, "My lord, you change countenance"; a young fellow in the pit cried, "For heaven's sake, let him!"


Two travellers were robbed in a wood, and tied to trees. One of them in despair exclaimed, "O, I am undone!"—"Are you?" said the other joyfully; "then I wish you'd come and undo me."[Pg 221]


A soldier passing through a meadow, a large mastiff ran at him, and he stabbed the dog with a bayonet. The master of the dog asked him why he had not rather struck the dog with the butt-end of his weapon? "So I should," said the soldier, "if he had run at me with his tail!"


The subject for the Chancellor's English Prize Poem, for the year 1823, was Australasia (New Holland). This happened to be the subject of conversation at a party of Johnians, when, some observing that they thought it a bad subject, one of the party remarked, "It was at least a transporting one."


A few years ago, when Handel's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso were performed at Birmingham, the passage most admired was,—

Such notes, as warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek.

The great manufacturers and mechanics of the place were inconceivably delighted with this idea, because they had never heard of anything in iron before that could not be made at Birmingham.


A painter of very middling abilities turned doctor: on being questioned respecting this change, he answered, "In painting, all faults are exposed to view; but in medicine, they are buried with the patient."


Is pupyism come to its full growth.—D.J.


To make this condiment your poet begs
The pounded yellow of two hard boiled eggs;
[Pg 222] Two boiled potatoes, passed through kitchen-sieve,
Smoothness and softness to the salad give;
Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl,
And, half-suspected, animate the whole.
Of mordant mustard add a single spoon,
Distrust the condiment that bites too soon;
But deem it not, thou man of herbs, a fault,
To add a double quantity of salt.
And, lastly, o'er the flavored compound toss
A magic soup-spoon of anchovy sauce.
O green and glorious!—O herbaceous treat!
'T would tempt the dying anchorite to eat;
Back to the world he'd turn his fleeting soul,
And plunge his fingers in the salad-bowl!
Serenely full, the epicure would say,
"Fate cannot harm me, I have dined to-day!"


A member of one of the dramatic funds was complaining of being obliged to retire from the stage with an income of only one hundred and fifty pounds a year, upon which an old officer, on half-pay, said to him: "A comedian has no reason to complain, whilst a man like me, crippled with wounds, is content with half that sum."—"What!" replied the actor; "and do you reckon as nothing the honor of being able to say so?"


That Lord —— owes nothing, one safely may say,
For his creditors find he has nothing to pay.


"I rise for information," said a member of the legislative body. "I am very glad to hear it," said a bystander, "for no man wants it more."


Why scorn red hair? The Greeks, we know
(I note it here in charity),
Had taste in beauty, and with them
The Graces were all Χαριται!
[Pg 223]


Returning from hunting one day, George III. entered affably into conversation with his wine-merchant, Mr. Carbonel, and rode with him side by side a considerable way. Lord Walsingham was in attendance; and watching an opportunity, took Mr. Carbonel aside, and whispered something to him. "What's that? what's that Walsingham has been saying to you?" inquired the good-humored monarch. "I find, sir, I have been unintentionally guilty of disrespect; my lord informed me that I ought to have taken off my hat whenever I addressed your Majesty; but your Majesty will please to observe, that whenever I hunt, my hat is fastened to my wig, and my wig is fastened to my head, and I am on the back of a very high-spirited horse, so that if anything goes off we must all go off together!" The king laughed heartily at this apology.


A lady complaining to Sydney Smith that she could not sleep,—"I can furnish you," he said, "with a perfect soporific. I have published two volumes of Sermons; take them up to bed with you. I recommended them once to Blanco White, and before the third page—he was fast asleep!"


(On ——'s ponderous speeches.)

Though Sir Edward has made many speeches of late,
The House would most willingly spare them;
For it finds they possess such remarkable weight,
That it's really a trouble to bear them.


A severe snow-storm in the Highlands, which lasted for several weeks, having stopped all communication betwixt neighboring hamlets, snuff-takers were reduced to their last pinch. Borrowing and begging from all the neighbors within reach were resorted to, but this soon failed, and all were alike reduced to the extremity which[Pg 224] unwillingly abstinent snuffers alone know. The minister of the parish was amongst the unhappy number; the craving was so intense, that study was out of the question. As a last resort, the beadle was despatched through the snow, to a neighboring glen in the hope of getting a supply; but became back as unsuccessful as he went. "What's to be dune, John?" was the minister's pathetic inquiry. John shook his head, as much as to say that he could not tell; but immediately thereafter started up, as if a new idea had occurred to him. He came back in a few minutes, crying, "Hae." The minister, too eager to be scrutinizing, took a long, deep pinch, and then said, "Whaur did you get it?"—"I soupit[B] the poupit," was John's expressive reply. The minister's accumulated superfluous Sabbath snuff now came into good use.

[B] Swept.


(On Alderman Wood's being afraid to pledge himself even to the principles he has always professed.)

Sure in the House he'll do but little good
Who lets "I dare not, wait upon I Wood (I would)."


Luttrel and Wilkes were standing on the Brentford hustings, when Wilkes asked his adversary, privately, whether he thought there were more fools or rogues among the multitude of Wilkites spread out before them. "I'll tell them what you say, and put an end to you," said the Colonel. But, perceiving the threat gave Wilkes no alarm, he added, "Surely you don't mean to say you could stand here one hour after I did so?"—"Why (the answer was), you would not be alive one instant after."—"How so?"—"I should merely say it was a fabrication, and they would destroy you in the twinkling of an eye!"


After O'Connell had obtained the acquittal of a horse-stealer, the thief, in the ecstasy of his gratitude, cried out,[Pg 225] "Och, counsellor, I've no way here to thank your honor; but I wish't I saw you knocked down in me own parish,—wouldn't I bring a faction to the rescue?"


Say, why erroneous vent your spite?
Your censure, friends, will raise us;
If you do wish to damn us quite,
Only begin to praise us!


Mrs. Montgomery was the only—the motherless—daughter of the stern General Campbell, who early installed her into the duties of housekeeper, and it sometimes happened that, in setting down the articles purchased, and their prices, she put the "cart before the horse." Her gruff papa never lectured her verbally, but wrote his remarks on the margin of the paper, and returned it for correction. One such instance was as follows: "General Campbell thinks five-and-six-pence exceedingly dear for parsley." Henrietta instantly saw her mistake; but, instead of formally rectifying it, wrote against the next item,—"Miss Campbell thinks twopence-halfpenny excessively cheap for fowls"; and sent it back to her father.


A lady, complaining how rapidly time stole away, said: "Alas! I am near thirty." A doctor, who was present, and knew her age, said: "Do not fret at it, madam; for you will get further from that frightful epoch every day."


Provisions have a greater influence on the valor of troops than is generally supposed; and there is great truth in the remark of an English physician, who said, that with a six weeks' diet he could make a man a coward. A distinguished general was so convinced of this principle, that he said he always employed his troops before their dinner had digested.[Pg 226]


Sir William Dawes, Archbishop of York, was very fond of a pun. His clergy dining with him, for the first time, after he had lost his lady, he told them he feared they did not find things in so good order as they used to be in the time of poor Mary; and, looking extremely sorrowful, added, with a deep sigh, "She was, indeed, Mare Pacificum." A curate, who pretty well knew what she had been, said, "Ay, my lord, but she was Mare Mortuum first."


A clergyman, meeting a particular friend, asked him why he never came to hear him preach. He answered, "I am afraid of disturbing your solitude."


So well deserved is Rogers' fame,
That friends, who hear him most, advise
The egotist to change his name
To "Argus," with his hundred I's!


In a Chancery suit one of the counsel, describing the boundaries of his client's land, said, in showing the plan of it, "We lie on this side, my lord." The opposite counsel then said, "And we lie on that side." The Chancellor, with a good-humored grin, observed, "If you lie on both sides, whom will you have me believe?"


A mean fellow, thinking to get an opinion of his health gratis, asked a medical acquaintance what he should take for such a complaint? "I'll tell you," said the doctor, sarcastically; "You should take advice."


Scaliger doth the curious fact advance,
The early bishops used to join the dance,
[Pg 227] And winding, turning ——s shows us yet,
That Bishops still know how to pirouette.


A cunning juryman addressed the clerk of the court when administering the oath, saying, "Speak up; I cannot hear what you say."—"Stop; are you deaf?" asked Baron Alderson.—"Yes, of one ear."—"Then you may leave the box, for it is necessary that jurymen should hear both sides."


"Well, Will," said an Earl one day to Will Speir, seeing the latter finishing his dinner, "have you had a good dinner to-day?" (Will had been grumbling some time before.) "Ou, vera gude," answered Will; "but gin anybody asks if I got a dram after 't, what will I say?"


"Did you ever see Mr. Murdock return oats?" inquired the counsel.

"Yes, your honor," was the reply.

"On what ground did he refuse them?" was next asked by the learned counsel.

"In the back-yard," said Teddy, amidst the laughter of the court.


Poor Peter Staggs now rests beneath this rail,
Who loved his joke, his pipe, and mug of ale;
For twenty years he did the duties well,
Of ostler, boots, and waiter at the Bell.
But death stepped in, and ordered Peter Staggs
To feed the worms, and leave the farmers' nags.
The church clock struck one—alas! 'twas Peter's knell,
Who sighed, "I'm coming—that's the ostler's bell!"


A well-beneficed old parson having a large company to dinner, entertained them with nothing else but the situation[Pg 228] and profits of his parochial livings, which he said he kept entirely to himself. Quin, being one of the party, and observing that the parson displayed a pair of very dirty yellow hands, immediately called out,—"So, so, doctor, I think you do keep your glebe in your own hands with a witness!"


Foote having satirized the Scotch pretty severely, a gentleman asked, "Why he hated that nation so much."—"You are mistaken," said Foote, "I don't hate the Scotch, neither do I hate frogs, but I would have everything keep to its native element."


"You flatter me," said a thin exquisite the other day to a young lady who was praising the beauties of his moustache. "For heaven's sake, ma'am," interposed an old skipper, "don't make that monkey any flatter than he is!"


Sterne, the author of the "Sentimental Journey," who had the credit of treating his wife very ill, was one day talking to Garrick in a fine sentimental manner in praise of conjugal love and fidelity: "The husband," said he, with amazing assurance, "who behaves unkindly to his wife, deserves to have his house burnt over his head."—"If you think so," replied Garrick, "I hope your house is insured."


One being asked whom it was that he judged to be the chiefest actor in the murder of the king, he answered in this short enigma or riddle:—

"The heart of the loaf, and the head of the spring,
Is the name of the man that murdered the king."


At Wimpole there was to be seen a portrait of Mr. Harley, the speaker, in his robes of office. The active[Pg 229] part he took to forward the bill to settle the crown on the house of Hanover induced him to have a scroll painted in his hand, bearing the title of that bill. Soon after George the First arrived in England, Harley was sent to the Tower, and this circumstance being told to Prior whilst he was viewing the portrait, he wrote on the white part of the scroll the date of the day on which Harley was committed to the Tower, and under it: "this bill paid in full."


At no time of life should a man give up the thoughts of enjoying the society of women. "In youth," says Lord Bacon, "women are our mistresses, at a riper age our companions, in old age our nurses, and in all ages our friends."

A gentleman being asked what difference there was between a clock and a woman, instantly replied, "A clock serves to point out the hours, and a woman to make us forget them."


At a review of the volunteers, when the half-drowned heroes were defiling by all the best ways, the Devil's Own walked straight through. This being reported to Lord B——, he remarked, "that the lawyers always went through thick and thin."


Charles Lamb said once to a brother whist-player, who was a hand more clever than clean, and who had enough in him to afford the joke: "M., if dirt were trumps, what hands you would hold!"


Pope the actor, well known for his devotion to the culinary art, received an invitation to dinner, accompanied by an apology for the simplicity of the intended fare—a small turbot and a boiled edgebone of beef. "The very thing of all others that I like," exclaimed Pope; "I will come with the greatest pleasure": and come he did, and[Pg 230] eat he did, till he could literally eat no longer; when the word was given, and a haunch of venison was brought in. Poor Pope, after a puny effort at trifling with a slice of fat, laid down his knife and fork, and gave way to a hysterical burst of tears, exclaiming, "A friend of twenty years' standing, and to be served in this manner!"


Shelley styles his new poem, "Prometheus Unbound,"
And 'tis like to remain so while time circles round;
For surely an age would be spent in the finding
A reader so weak as to pay for the binding.


Horne Tooke, on being asked by a foreigner of distinction how much treason an Englishman might venture to write without being hanged, replied, that "he could not inform him just yet, but that he was trying."


The resemblance between the sandal tree, imparting (while it falls) its aromatic flavor to the edge of the axe, and the benevolent man rewarding evil with good, would be witty, did it not excite virtuous emotions.—S.S.


On an apple being thrown at Mr. Cooke, whilst playing Sir Pertinax Mac Sycophant.

Some envious Scot, you say, the apple threw,
Because the character was drawn too true;
It can't be so, for all must know "right weel"
That a true Scot had only thrown the peel.


An Irishman once ordered a painter to draw his picture, and to represent him standing behind a tree.[Pg 231]


A young lady was told by a married lady, that she had better precipitate herself from off the rocks of the Passaic falls into the basin beneath than marry. The young lady replied, "I would, if I thought I should find a husband at the bottom."


A lad applied to the captain of a vessel for a berth; the captain, wishing to intimidate him, handed him a piece of rope, and said, "If you want to make a good sailor, you must make three ends to the rope."—"I can do it," he readily replied; "here is one, and here is another,—that makes two. Now, here's the third," and he threw it overboard.


Foote was once asked, why learned men are to be found in rich men's houses, and rich men never to be seen in those of the learned. "Why," said he, "the first know what they want, but the latter do not."


When Quin and Garrick performed at the same theatre, and in the same play, one night, being very stormy, each ordered a chair. To the mortification of Quin, Garrick's chair came up first. "Let me get into the chair," cried the surly veteran, "let me get into the chair, and put little Davy into the lantern."—"By all means," rejoined Garrick, "I shall ever be happy to enlighten Mr. Quin in anything."


Lord Clare, who was much opposed to Curran, one day brought a Newfoundland dog upon the bench, and during Curran's speech turned himself aside and caressed the animal. Curran stopped. "Go on, go on, Mr. Curran," said Lord Clare. "O, I beg a thousand pardons," was the rejoinder; "I really thought your lordship was employed in consultation."[Pg 232]


A tailor sent his bill to a lawyer for money; the lawyer bid the boy tell his master that he was not running away, but very busy at that time. The boy comes again, and tells him he must have the money. "Did you tell your master," said the lawyer, "that I was not running away?"—"Yes, sir," answered the boy; "but he bade me tell you that he was."


Sir George Beaumont once met Quin at a small dinner-party. There was a delicious pudding, which the master of the house, pushing the dish towards Quin, begged him to taste. A gentleman had just before helped himself to an immense piece of it. "Pray," said Quin, looking first at the gentleman's plate and then at the dish, "which is the pudding?"


To fast and pray we are by Scripture taught:
Oh could I do but either as I ought!
In both, alas! I err; my frailty such,—
I pray too little, and I fast too much.


A student, being asked what progress he had made in the study of medicine, modestly replied: "I hope I shall soon be fully qualified as physician, for I think I am now able to cure a child."


Colman and Banister dining one day with Lord Erskine, the ex-Chancellor, amongst other things, observed that he had then about three thousand head of sheep. "I perceive," interrupted Colman, "your lordship has still an eye to the woolsack."


Sir Thomas Coulson being present with a friend at[Pg 233] the burning of Drury Lane Theatre, and observing several engines hastening to the spot where the fire had been extinguished, remarked that they were "ingens cui lumen adeptum."


When the celebrated Beau Nash was ill, Dr. Cheyne wrote a prescription for him. The next day the doctor, coming to see his patient, inquired if he had followed his prescription: "No, truly, doctor," said Nash; "if I had I should have broken my neck for I threw it out of a two-pair-of-stairs window."


Sir David Baird, with great gallantry and humanity, had a queer temper. When news came to England that he was one of those poor prisoners in India who were tied back to back to fetter them, his mother exclaimed, "Heaven pity the man that's tied to my Davy!"


A physician, much attached to his profession, during his attendance on a man of letters, observing that the patient was very punctual in taking all his medicines, exclaimed in the pride of his heart: "Ah! my dear sir, you deserve to be ill."


"Pay me that six-and-eightpence you owe me, Mr. Malrooney," said a village attorney. "For what?"—"For the opinion you had of me."—"Faith, I never had any opinion of you in all my life."


Whilst inspecting a farm in a pauperized district, an enterprising agriculturist could not help noticing the slow, drawling motions of one of the laborers there, and said, "My man, you do not sweat at that work."—"Why, no, master," was the reply, "seven shillings a week isn't sweating wages."[Pg 234]


Strange is it, proud Pontefract's borough should sully
Its fame by returning to parliament Gully.
The etymological cause, I suppose, is
His breaking the bridges of so many noses.


People would be astonished if they were aware of the cart-loads of trash which are annually offered to the director of a London theatre. The very first manuscript (says George Colman) which was proposed to me for representation, on my undertaking theatrical management, was from a nautical gentleman, on a nautical subject; the piece was of a tragic description, and in five acts; during the principal scenes of which the hero of the drama declaimed from the main-mast of a man-of-war, without once descending from his position!

A tragedy was offered to Mr. Macready, or Mr. Webster, in thirty acts. The subject was the history of Poland, and the author proposed to have five acts played a night, so that the whole could be gone through in a week.


"An attorney," says Sterne, "is the same thing to a barrister that an apothecary is to a physician, with this difference, that your lawyer does not deal in scruples."


I never by chance hear the rattling of dice that it doesn't sound to me like the funeral bell of a whole family.—D.J.


We feel for climbing boys as much as anybody can do; but what is a climbing boy in a chimney to a full-grown suitor in the Master's office![Pg 235]


Hail, charming power of self-opinion!
For none are slaves in thy dominion;
Secure in thee, the mind's at ease,
The vain have only one to please.


Formerly, it was customary, on emergencies, for the Judges to swear affidavits at their dwelling-houses. Smith was desired by his father to attend a Judge's chambers for that purpose; but being engaged to dine in Russell Square, at the next house to Mr. Justice Holroyd's, he thought he might as well save himself the disagreeable necessity of leaving the party at eight, by despatching his business at once, so, a few minutes before six, he boldly knocked at the Judge's and requested to speak to him on particular business. The Judge was at dinner, but came down without delay, swore the affidavit, and then gravely asked what was the pressing necessity that induced our friend to disturb him at that hour. As Smith told his story, he raked his invention for a lie, but finding none fit for the purpose, he blurted out the truth: "The fact is, my Lord, I am engaged to dine at the next house—and—and——"—"And, sir, you thought you might as well save your own dinner by spoiling mine?"—"Exactly so, my Lord; but——"—"Sir, I wish you a good evening." Though Smith brazened the matter out, he said he never was more frightened.


An English journal lately contained the following announcement: "To be sold, one hundred and thirty lawsuits, the property of an attorney retiring from business. N.B. The clients are rich and obstinate."


An old lady, being desirous to be thought younger than she was, said that she was but forty years old. A student who sat near observed, that it must be quite true, for he had heard her repeat the same for the last ten years.[Pg 236]


A gentleman at a musical party asked a friend, in a whisper, "How he should stir the fire without interrupting the music."—"Between the bars," replied the friend.


The Duke of B——, who was to have been one of the knights of the Eglinton tournament, was lamenting that he was obliged to excuse himself, on the ground of an attack of the gout. "How," said he, "could I ever get my poor puffed legs into those abominable iron boots?"—"It will be quite as appropriate," replied Hook, "if your grace goes in your list shoes."


Mrs. Robison (widow of the eminent professor of natural philosophy) having invited a gentleman to dinner on a particular day, he had accepted, with the reservation, "If I am spared."—"Weel, weel," said Mrs. Robison, "if ye're dead I'll no' expect ye."


A French marquis having received several blows with a stick, which he never thought of resenting, a friend asked him, "How he could reconcile it with his honor to suffer them to pass without notice?"—"Pooh!" replied the marquis, "I never trouble my head with anything that passes behind my back."


An old Scotch domestic gave a capital reason to his young master for his being allowed to do as he liked: "Ye need na find faut wi' me, Maister Jeems, I hae been langer about the place than yersel'."


A laird of Logan was at a meeting of the heritors of Cumnock, where a proposal was made to erect a new[Pg 237] churchyard wall. He met the proposition with the dry remark, "I never big dykes till the tenants complain."


The late Dr. Brand was remarkable for his spirit of contradiction. One extremely cold morning, in the month of January, he was addressed by a friend with,—"It is a very cold morning, doctor."—"I don't know that," was the doctor's observation, though he was at the instant covered with snow. At another time he happened to dine with some gentlemen. The doctor engrossed the conversation almost entirely to himself, and interlarded his observations with Greek and Latin quotations, to the annoyance of the company. A gentleman of no slight erudition, seated next the doctor, remarked to him, "that he ought not to quote so much, as many of the party did not understand it."—"And you are one of them," observed the learned bear.


Jerrold was seriously disappointed with a certain book written by one of his friends. This friend heard that Jerrold had expressed his disappointment.

Friend (to Jerrold).—I hear you said —— was the worst book I ever wrote.

Jerrold.—No, I didn't. I said it was the worst book anybody ever wrote.


W——, they say, is bright! yet to discover
The fact you vainly in St. Stephen's sit.
But hold! Extremes will meet: the marvel's over;
His very dulness is the extreme of wit.


The pride of some people differs from that of others. Mr. Bunn was passing through Jermyn Street, late one evening, and seeing Kenney at the corner of St. James's Church, swinging about in a nervous sort of manner, he inquired the cause of his being there at such an hour. He[Pg 238] replied, "I have been to the St. James's Theatre, and, do you know, I really thought Braham was a much prouder man than I find him to be." On asking why, he answered, "I was in the green-room, and hearing Braham say, as he entered, 'I am really proud of my pit to-night,' I went and counted it, and there were but seventeen people in it."


"I would," says Fox, "a tax devise
That shall not fall on me."
"Then tax receipts," Lord North replies,
"For those you never see."


A Scotch country minister had been invited, with his wife, to dine and spend the night at the house of one of his lairds. Their host was very proud of one of the very large beds which had just come into fashion, and in the morning asked the lady how she had slept in it. "O very well, sir; but, indeed, I thought I'd lost the minister a' thegither."


A drunken man was found in the suburbs of Dublin, lying on his face, by the roadside, apparently in a state of physical unconsciousness. "He is dead," said a countryman of his, who was looking at him. "Dead!" replied another, who had turned him with his face uppermost; "by the powers, I wish I had just half his disease!"—in other words, a moiety of the whiskey he had drunk.


"I keep an excellent table," said a lady, disputing with one of her boarders. "That may be true, ma'am," says he, "but you put very little upon it."


A laird of Logan sold a horse to an Englishman, saying, "You buy him as you see him; but he's an honest[Pg 239] beast." The purchaser took him home. In a few days he stumbled and fell, to the damage of his own knees and his rider's head. On this the angry purchaser remonstrated with the laird, whose reply was, "Well, sir, I told you he was an honest beast; many a time has he threatened to come down with me, and I kenned he would keep his word some day."


Mr. Neville, formerly a fellow of Jesus College, was distinguished, by many innocent singularities, uncommon shyness, and stammering of speech, but when he used bad words he could talk fluently. In one of his solitary rambles a countryman met him and inquired the road. "Tu—u—rn," says Neville, "to—to—to—" and so on for a minute or two; at last he burst out, "Confound it, man! you'll get there before I can tell you!"


Two Miltons, in separate ages were born,
The cleverer Milton 'tis clear we have got;
Though the other had talents the world to adorn,
This lives by his mews, which the other could not!


The following complacent Scottish remark upon Bannockburn was made to a splenetic Englishman, who had said to a Scottish countryman that no man of taste would think of remaining any time in such a country as Scotland. To which the canny Scot replied, "Tastes differ; I'se tak' ye to a place no far frae Stirling, whaur thretty thousand o' yer countrymen ha' been for five hunder years, an' they've nae thocht o' leavin' yet."


A schoolboy being asked by the teacher how he should flog him, replied, "If you please, sir, I should like to have it upon the Italian system—the heavy strokes up-wards, and the down ones light."[Pg 240]


Curran, after a debate which gave rise to high words, put his hand to his heart, and declared that he was the trusty guardian of his own honor. Upon which Sir Boyle Roche congratulated his honorable friend on the snug little sinecure he had discovered for himself.


When Pennington for female ills indites,
Studying alone not what, but how he writes,
The ladies, as his graceful form they scan,
Cry, with ill-omened rapture,—"Killing man!"


Jerrold and Laman Blanchard were strolling together about London, discussing passionately a plan for joining Byron in Greece, when a heavy shower of rain wetted them through. Jerrold, telling the story many years after, said, "That shower of rain washed all the Greece out of us."


In 1824, when the question of erecting a monument to Shakespeare, in his native town, was agitated by Mr. Mathews and Mr. Bunn, the King (George IV.) took a lively interest in the matter, and, considering that the leading people of both the patent theatres should be consulted, directed Sir Charles Long, Sir George Beaumont, and Sir Francis Freeling to ascertain Mr. Elliston's sentiments on the subject. As soon as these distinguished individuals (who had come direct from, and were going direct back to, the Palace) had delivered themselves of their mission, Elliston replied, "Very well, gentlemen, leave the papers with me, and I will talk over the business with his Majesty."


A traveller relating his adventures, told the company that he and his servants had made fifty wild Arabs run; which startling them, he observed, that there was no great[Pg 241] matter in it,—"For," says he, "we ran, and they ran after us."


At the time of expected invasion at the beginning of the century, some of the town magistrates called upon an old maiden lady of Montrose, and solicited her subscription to raise men for the service of the King. "Indeed," she answered right sturdily, "I'll do nae sic thing; I never could raise a man for mysel, and I'm no gaun to raise men for King George."


A vehement political declaimer, calling aloud for the head of Lord North, turned round and perceived his victim unconsciously indulging in a quiet slumber, and, becoming still more exasperated, denounced the Minister as capable of sleeping while he ruined his country; the latter only complained how cruel it was to be denied a solace which other criminals so often enjoyed, that of having a night's rest before their fate. On Mr. Martin's proposal to have a starling placed near the chair, and taught to repeat the cry of "Infamous coalition!" Lord North coolly suggested, that, as long as the worthy member was preserved to them, it would be a needless waste of the public money, since the starling might well perform his office by deputy.


A young ecclesiastic asked his bishop permission to preach. "I would permit you," answered the prelate; "but nature will not."


(Suggested by hearing a debate in the House of Commons.)

To wonder now at Balaam's ass were weak;
Is there a night that asses do not speak?


Porson one day sent his gyp with a note to a certain[Pg 242] Cantab, requesting him to find the value of nothing. Next day he met his friend walking, and stopping him, desired to know, "Whether he had succeeded?" His friend answered, "Yes!"—"And what may it be?" asked Porson. "Sixpence!" replied the Cantab, "which I gave the man for bringing the note."


Spurzheim was lecturing on phrenology. "What is to be conceived the organ of drunkenness?" said the professor. "The barrel-organ," interrupted an auditor.


A writer, in describing the last scene of "Othello," had this exquisite passage: "Upon which the Moor, seizing a bolster full of rage and jealousy, smothers her."


Dr. Aldrich, of convivial memory, said there were five reasons for drinking:—

"Good wine, a friend, or being dry,
Or lest you should be by and by,
Or any other reason why."


An eminent Scottish divine met two of his own parishioners at the house of a lawyer, whom he considered too sharp a practitioner. The lawyer ungraciously put the question, "Doctor, these are members of your flock; may I ask, do you look upon them as white sheep or as black sheep?"—"I don't know," answered the divine dryly, "whether they are black or white sheep; but I know, if they are long here, they are pretty sure to be fleeced."


At a wedding the other day one of the guests, who often is a little absent-minded, observed gravely, "I have often remarked that there have been more women than men married this year."[Pg 243]


A tutor bidding one of his pupils, whose name was Charles Howl, to make some English verses, and seeing he put teeth to rhyme with feet, told him he was wrong there, as that was no proper rhyme. Charles answered, "You have often told me that H was no letter, and therefore this is good rhyme." His tutor said, "Take heed, Charles, of that evasion, for that will make you an owl."


Sheridan was one day much annoyed by a fellow-member of the House of Commons, who kept crying out every few minutes, "Hear! hear!" During the debate he took occasion to describe a political contemporary that wished to play rogue, but had only sense enough to act fool. "Where," exclaimed he, with great emphasis—"where shall we find a more foolish knave or a more knavish fool than he?"—"Hear! hear!" was shouted by the troublesome member. Sheridan turned round, and, thanking him for the prompt information, sat down amid a general roar of laughter.


A young lady, pressed by friends to marry a decent, but poor man, on the plea, "Marry for love, and work for siller," replied, "It's a' vera true, but a kiss and a tinniefu[C] o' cauld water maks a gey wersh[D] breakfast."

[C] Tinnie, the small porringer of children.

[D] Insipid.


A lady was followed by a beggar, who very importunately asked her for alms. She refused him; when he quitted her, saying, with a profound sigh, "Yet the alms I asked you for would have prevented me executing my present resolution!" The lady was alarmed lest the man should commit some rash attempt on his own life. She called him back, and gave him a shilling, and asked him the meaning of what he had just said. "Madam," said the fellow, laying hold of the money, "I have been[Pg 244] begging all day in vain, and but for this shilling I should have been obliged to work!"


Mrs. Bray relates the following of a Devonshire physician, happily named Vial, who was a desperate lover of whist. One evening in the midst of a deal, the doctor fell off his chair in a fit. Consternation seized on the company. Was he alive or dead? At length he showed signs of life, and, retaining the last fond idea which had possessed him at the moment he fell into the fit, exclaimed, "What is trumps?"


The late Hon. Henry Erskine met his acquaintance Jemmy Ba—four, a barrister, who dealt in hard words and circumlocutious sentences. Perceiving that his ankle was tied up with a silk handkerchief, the former asked the cause. "Why, my dear sir," answered the wordy lawyer, "I was taking a romantic ramble in my brother's grounds, when, coming to a gate, I had to climb over it, by which I came in contact with the first bar, and have grazed the epidermis on my skin, attended with a slight extravasation of blood."—"You may thank your lucky stars," replied Mr. Erskine, "that your brother's gate was not as lofty as your style, or you must have broken your neck."


These walls, so full of monuments and bust,
Show how Bath waters serve to lay the dust.


Two friends meeting after an absence of some years, during which time the one had increased considerably in bulk, and the other still resembled only the "effigy of a man,"—said the stout gentleman, "Why, Dick, you look as if you had not had a dinner since I saw you last."—"And you," replied the other, "look as if you had been at dinner ever since."[Pg 245]


An arch boy was feeding a magpie when a gentleman in the neighborhood, who had an impediment in his speech, coming up, said, "T-T-T-Tom, can your mag t-t-talk yet?"—"Ay, sir," says the boy, "better than you, or I'd wring his head off."


The best history of a serpent we ever remember to have read, was of one killed near one of our settlements in the East Indies; in whose body they found the chaplain of the garrison, all in black, the Rev. Mr. ——, and who, after having been missing for above a week, was discovered in this very inconvenient situation.


Curran, hearing that a stingy and slovenly barrister had started for the Continent with a shirt and a guinea, observed, "He'll not change either till he comes back."


(On hearing a prosing harangue from a certain Bishop.)

When he holds forth, his reverence doth appear
So lengthily his subject to pursue,
That listeners (out of patience) often fear
He has indeed eternity in view.


Mr. Smith passed a pork-shop the other day,—Mr. Smith whistled. The moment he did this, every sausage "wagged its tail." As a note to this, we would mention that the day before he lost a Newfoundland dog, that weighed sixty-eight pounds.


Rogers used to relate this story: An Englishman and a Frenchman fought a duel in a darkened room. The Englishman, unwilling to take his antagonist's life, generously[Pg 246] fired up the chimney, and—brought down the Frenchman. "When I tell this story in France," pleasantly added the relator, "I make the Englishman go up the chimney."


Some one being asked if a certain authoress, whom he had long known, was not "a little tiresome?"—"Not at all," said he, "she was perfectly tiresome."


An Irish judge had a habit of begging pardon on every occasion. At the close of the assize, as he was about to leave the bench, the officer of the Court reminded him that he had not passed sentence of death on one of the criminals, as he had intended. "Dear me!" said his lordship, "I really beg his pardon,—bring him in."


A landlady, who exhibited an inordinate love for the vulgar fluid gin, would order her servant to get the supplies after the following fashion: "Betty, go and get a quartern loaf, and half a quartern of gin." Off started Betty. She was speedily recalled: "Betty, make it half a quartern loaf, and a quartern of gin." But Betty had never fairly got across the threshold on the mission ere the voice was again heard: "Betty, on second thoughts, you may as well make it all gin."


Dr. Johnson censured Gwyn, the architect, for taking down a church, which might have stood for many years, and building a new one in a more convenient place, for no other reason but that there might be a direct road to a new bridge. "You are taking," said the doctor, "a church out of the way, that the people may go in a straight line to the bridge."—"No, sir," replied Gwyn: "I am putting the church in the way, that the people may not go out of the way."[Pg 247]


A candidate at an election, who wanted eloquence, when another had, in a long and brilliant speech, promised great things, got up and said, "Electors of G——, all that he has said I will do."


Schoolmistress (pointing to the first letter of the alphabet): "Come, now, what is that?" Scholar: "I sha'n't tell you." Schoolmistress: "You won't! But you must. Come, now, what is it?" Scholar: "I sha'n't tell you. I didn't come here to teach you,—but for you to teach me."


Two Harveys had a mutual wish
To please in different stations;
For one excelled in Sauce for Fish,
And one in Meditations.
Each had its pungent power applied
To aid the dead and dying;
This relishes a sole when fried,
That saves a soul from frying.


If truth, perspicuity, wit, gravity, and every property pertaining to the ancient or modern epitaph, may be expected united in one single epitaph, it is in one made for Burbadge, the tragedian, in the days of Shakespeare,—the following being the whole,—Exit Burbadge.

Jerrold, perhaps, trumped this by his anticipatory epitaph on that excellent man and distinguished historian, Charles Knight,—"Good Knight."


Foote being told of the appointment of a Scotch nobleman, said, "The Irish, sir, take us all in, and the Scotch turn us all out."[Pg 248]


A boasting fellow was asked, "Pray, sir, what may your business be?"—"O," replied the boaster, "I am but a cork-cutter: but then it is in a very large way!"—"Indeed!" replied the other; "then I presume you are a cutter of bungs?"


Curious coincidences respecting the letter C, as connected with the Princess Charlotte, daughter of George IV.:—Her mother's name was Caroline, her own name was Charlotte; that of her consort Cobourg; she was married at Carlton House; her town residence was at Camelford House, the late owner of which, Lord Camelford, was untimely killed in a duel; her country residence Claremont, not long ago the property of Lord Clive, who ended his days by suicide; she died in Childbed, the name of her accoucheur being Croft.


In a country theatre there were only seven persons in the house one night. The pit took offence at the miserable acting of a performer, and hissed him energetically; whereupon the manager brought his company on the stage, and out-hissed the visitors.


Dr. Garth (so he is called in the manuscript), who was one of the Kit-Kat Club, coming there one night, declared he must soon be gone, having many patients to attend; but some good wine being produced he forgot them. When Sir Richard Steele reminded him of his patients, Garth immediately said, "It's no great matter whether I see them to-night or not; for nine of them have such bad constitutions that all the physicians in the world can't save them, and the other six have so good constitutions that all the physicians in the world can't kill them."


Owen Moore has run away,
Owing more than he can pay.
[Pg 249]


"Hurrah! Hurrah!" cried a young lawyer, who had succeeded to his father's practice, "I've settled that old chancery suit at last."—"Settled it!" cried the astonished parent, "why I gave you that as an annuity for your life."


"As you do not belong to my parish," said a clergyman to a begging sailor, with a wooden leg, "you cannot expect that I should relieve you."—"Sir," said the sailor, with a noble air, "I lost my leg fighting for all parishes."


George II., who was fond of Whiston the philosopher, one day, during his persecution, said to him, that, however right he might be in his opinions, he had better suppress them. "Had Martin Luther done so," replied the philosopher, "your majesty would not have been on the throne of England."


A boy being asked what was the plural of "penny," replied, with great promptness and simplicity, "two-pence."


A man having broken open a young lady's jewel-case (the offence was differently described in the indictment), pleaded that he had done so with consent. "In the future," said Mr. Justice Maule, "When you receive a lady's consent under similar circumstances, get it, if possible, in writing."


An English officer lost his leg at the battle of Vittoria, and after suffering amputation with the greatest courage, thus addressed his servant who was crying, or pretending to cry, in one corner of the room, "None of your hypocritical tears, you idle dog; you know you are very glad,[Pg 250] for now you will have only one boot to clean instead of two."


A sailor was asked, "Where did your father die?"—"In a storm," answered the sailor. "And your grandfather?"—"He was drowned."—"And your great-grandfather?"—"He perished at sea."—"How, then," said the questioner, "dare you go to sea, since all your ancestors perished there? You needs must be very rash."—"Master," replied the sailor, "do me the favor of telling me where your father died?"—"Very comfortably in a bed."—"And your forefathers?"—"In the same manner,—very quietly in their beds."—"Ah! master," replied the sailor, "how, then, dare you go to bed, since all your ancestors died in it?"


A very excellent lady was desired by another to teach her what secrets she had to preserve her husband's favor. "It is," replied she, "by doing all that pleases him, and by enduring patiently all that displeases me."


A nobleman ventured, in a moment of conviviality at his grace's table, to put this question to him: "Allow me to ask, as we are all here titled, if you were not surprised at Waterloo?" To which the duke responded, "No; but I am now."


A country boy endeavored, to the utmost of his power, to make himself useful, and avoid being frequently told of many trifling things, as country lads generally are. His master having sent him down stairs for two bottles of wine, he said to him, "Well, John, have you shook them?"—"No, sir; but I will," he replied, suiting the action to the word.


An eminent tallow-chandler was told that after his candles[Pg 251] were burned down to the middle, not one of them would burn any longer. He was at first greatly enraged at what he deemed a gross falsehood; but the same evening he tried the experiment at home, and found it to be a fact, "that when burned to the middle, neither candle would burn any longer."


A braggart, whose face had been mauled in a pot-house brawl, asserted that he had received his scars in battle. "Then," said an old soldier, "be careful the next time you run away, and don't look back."


"Bobby, what does your father do for a living?"—"He's a philanthropist, sir."—"A what?"—"A phi-lan-thro-pist, sir,—he collects money for Central America, and builds houses out of the proceeds."


A foreigner asked an English tailor how much cloth was necessary for a suit of clothes. He replied, twelve yards. Astonished at the quantity, he went to another, who said seven would be quite sufficient. Not thinking of the exorbitancy even of this demand, all his rage was against the first tailor: so to him he went. "How did you dare, sir, ask twelve yards of cloth, to make me what your neighbor says he can do for seven?"—"Lord, sir!" replied the man, "my neighbor can easily do it, he has but three children to clothe, I have six."


A beggar asking alms under the name of a poor scholar, a gentleman to whom he applied himself, asked him a question in, Latin. The fellow, shaking his head, said he did not understand him. "Why," said the gentleman, "did you not say you were a poor scholar?"—"Yes," replied the other, "a poor one indeed, sir, for I do not understand one word of Latin."[Pg 252]


A huntsman, reported to have lived with Mr. Beckford, was not so correct in his conversation as he was in his professional employments. One day when he had been out with the young hounds, Mr. B. sent for him, and asked what sport he had had, and how the hounds behaved. "Very great sport, sir, and no hounds could behave better."—"Did you run him long?"—"They run him up-wards of five hours successfully."—"So then you did kill him?"—"O no, sir; we lost him at last."


Dr. Parr, who was neither very choice nor delicate in his epithets, once called a clergyman a fool, and there was probably some truth in his application of the word. The clergyman, however, being of a different opinion, declared he would complain to the bishop of the usage. "Do so," added the learned Grecian, "and my Lord Bishop will confirm you."


A country dentist advertises that "he spares no pains" to render his operations satisfactory.


Mrs. B—— desired Dr. Johnson to give his opinion of a new work she had just written, adding, that if it would not do, she begged him to tell her, for she had other irons in the fire, and in case of its not being likely to succeed, she could bring out something else. "Then," said the doctor, after having turned over a few of the leaves, "I advise you, madam, to put it where your other irons are."


At the time when Sir Richard Steele was preparing his great room in York Buildings for public orations, he was behindhand in his payments to the workmen; and coming one day among them, to see what progress they made, he ordered the carpenter to get into the rostrum, and speak anything that came uppermost, that he might observe how[Pg 253] it could be heard. "Why then, Sir Richard," says the fellow, "here have we been working for you these six months, and cannot get one penny of money. Pray, sir, when do you mean to pay us?"—"Very well, very well," said Sir Richard; "pray come down; I have heard quite enough; I cannot but own you speak very distinctly, though I don't much admire your subject."


The late Duchess of York having desired her housekeeper to seek out a new laundress, a decent-looking woman was recommended to the situation. "But," said the housekeeper, "I am afraid she will not suit your royal highness, as she is a soldier's wife, and these people are generally loose characters!"—"What is it you say?" said the duke, who had just entered the room, "a soldier's wife! Pray, madam, what is your mistress? I desire that the woman may be immediately engaged."


A gentleman, finding his grounds trespassed on and robbed, set up a board in a most conspicuous situation, to scare offenders, by the notification that "Steel-traps and Spring-guns are set in these Grounds";—but finding that even this was treated with contempt, he caused to be painted, in very prominent letters, underneath,—"No Joke, by the Lord Harry!" which had the desired effect.


A person who had often teased another ineffectually for subscriptions to charitable undertakings, was one day telling him that he had just seen his picture. "And did you ask it for a subscription?" said the non-giver. "No, I saw no chance," replied the other; "it was so like you."


George Selwyn, happening to be at Bath when it was nearly empty, was induced, for the mere purpose of killing time, to cultivate the acquaintance of an elderly gentleman[Pg 254] he was in the habit of meeting at the Rooms. In the height of the following season, Selwyn encountered his old associate in St. James's street. He endeavored to pass unnoticed, but in vain. "What! don't you recollect me?" exclaimed the cuttee. "I recollect you perfectly," replied Selwyn; "and when I next go to Bath, I shall be most happy to become acquainted with you again."


At a dinner-party, one of the guests used his knife improperly in eating. At length a wag asked aloud: "Have you heard of poor L——'s sad affair? I met him at a party yesterday, when to our great horror, he suddenly took up the knife, and——" "Good heavens!" interposed one of the ladies; "and did he cut his throat?"—"Why no," answered the relator, "he did not cut his throat with his knife; but we all expected he would, for he actually put it up to his mouth."


Theodore Hook, about to be proposed a member of the Phœnix Club, inquired when they met. "Every Saturday evening during the winter," was the answer. "Evening? O then," said he, "I shall never make a Phœnix, for I can't rise from the fire."


A nobleman had a house-porter who was an enormous eater. "Frank," said he, one day, "tell me how many loins you could eat?" "Ah, my lord, as for loins, not many; five or six at most."—"And how many legs of mutton?"—"Ah, as for legs of mutton, not many; seven or eight, perhaps."—"And fatted pullets?"—"Ah, as for pullets, my lord, not many; not more than a dozen."—"And pigeons?"—"Ah, as for pigeons, not many; perhaps forty—fifty at most—according to appetite."—"And larks?"—"Ah, as for that, my lord—little larks—for ever, my lord—for ever!"


Dean Cowper, of Durham, who was very economical[Pg 255] of his wine, descanting one day on the extraordinary performance of a man who was blind, remarked, that the poor fellow could see no more than "that bottle."—"I do not wonder at it at all, sir," replied a minor canon, "for we have seen no more than 'that bottle' all the afternoon."


A'Beckett once said, "It seems that anything likely to have an annual increase is liable to be tithed. Could not Lord S——, by virtue of this liability, contrive to get rid of a part of his stupidity?"


At a tea-party, where some Cantabs were present, the lady who was presiding "Hoped the tea was good."—"Very good, indeed, madam," was the general reply, till it came to the turn of one of the Cantabs, who, between truth and politeness observed, "That the tea was excellent, but the water was smoky!"


Some people have a notion that villany ought to be exposed, though we must confess we think it a thing that deserves a hiding.


A student riding being jeered on the way for wearing but one spur, said that if one side of his horse went on, it was not likely that the other would stay behind.

[This is, no doubt, the original of the well-known passage in Hudibras,—

"For Hudibras wore but one spur;
As wisely knowing, could he stir
To active trot one side of 's horse," &c.]


A scholar was asked why a black hen laid a white egg. He answered, "Unum contrarium expellit alterum."[Pg 256]


A poacher was carried before a magistrate upon a charge of killing game unlawfully in a nobleman's park, where he was caught in the fact. Being asked what he had to say in his defence, and what proof he could bring to support it, he replied, "May it please your worship, I know and confess that I was found in his lordship's park, as the witness has told you, but I can bring the whole parish to prove that, for the last thirty years, it has been my manner."


Jemmy Gordon, the well-known writer of many a theme and declamation for varmint-men, alias non-reading Cantabs, having been complimented by an acquaintance on the result of one of his themes, to which the prize of a certain college was awarded, quaintly enough replied, "It is no great credit to be first in an ass-race."


Swift was one day in company with a young coxcomb, who, rising from his chair, said, with a conceited and confident air, "I would have you to know, Mr. Dean, I set up for a wit."—"Do you, indeed," replied the Dean; "Then take my advice, and sit down again."


"A reformed Parliament," exclaimed a Conservative the other day, "will never do for this country."—"No! but an unreformed would, and that quickly," replied a bystander.


A minister in Aberdeenshire, sacrificed so often and so freely to the jolly god, that the presbytery could no longer overlook his proceedings, and summoned him before them to answer for his conduct. One of his elders, and constant companion in his social hours, was cited as a witness against him. "Well, John, did you ever see the[Pg 257] Rev. Mr. C—— the worse of drink?"—"Weel, a wat no; I've monyatime seen him the better o't, but I ne'er saw him the waur o't."—"But did you never see him drunk?"—"That's what I'll ne'er see; for before he be half slockened, I'm ay' blind fu'."


A certain Quaker slept at a hotel in a certain town. He was supplied with two wax candles. He retired early, and, as he had burned but a small part of the candles, he took them with him into his bedroom. In the morning, finding he was charged 2s. in his bill for wax candles, instead of fees to the waiter and chambermaid, he gave to each a wax candle.


"What plan," said an actor to another, "shall I adopt to fill the house at my benefit?"—"Invite your creditors," was the surly reply.


On one occasion a lad, while at home for the holidays, complained to his mother that a schoolfellow who slept with him took up half the bed. "And why not?" said the mother; "he's entitled to half, isn't he!"—"Yes, mother," rejoined her son; "but how would you like to have him take out all the soft for his half? He will have his half out of the middle, and I have to sleep both sides of him!"


A servant of an old maiden lady, a patient of Dr. Poole, formerly of Edinburgh, was under orders to go to the doctor every morning to report the state of her health, how she had slept, &c., with strict injunctions always to add, "with her compliments." At length, one morning the girl brought this extraordinary message: "Miss S——'s compliments, and she de'ed last night at aicht o'clock!"[Pg 258]


A jolly Jack-tar having strayed into Atkins's show at Bartholomew Fair, to have a look at the wild beasts, was much struck with the sight of a lion and a tiger in the same den. "Why, Jack," said he to a messmate, who was chewing a quid in silent amazement, "I shouldn't wonder if next year they were to carry about a sailor and a marine living peaceably together!"—"Aye," said his married companion, "or a man and wife."


Mr. Burke, in speaking of the indisposition of Mr. Fox, which prevented his making a motion for an investigation into the conduct of Lord Sandwich, said, "No one laments Mr. Fox's illness more than I do; and I declare that if he should continue ill, the inquiry into the conduct of the first Lord of the Admiralty should not be proceeded upon; and, should the country suffer so serious a calamity as his death, it ought to be followed up earnestly and solemnly; nay, of so much consequence is the inquiry to the public, that no bad use would be made of the skin of my departed friend, (should such, alas! be his fate!) if, like that of John Zisca, it should be converted into a drum, and used for the purpose of sounding an alarm to the people of England."


Lord Allen, in conversation with Rogers, the poet, observed: "I never put my razor into hot water, as I find it injures the temper of the blade."—"No doubt of it," replied Rogers; "show me the blade that is not out of temper when plunged into hot water."


Mr. Dunlop, while making his pastoral visitations among some of the country members of his flock, came to a farm-house where he was expected; and the mistress, thinking that he would be in need of refreshment, proposed that he should take his tea before engaging in exercises,[Pg 259] and said she would soon have it ready. Mr. Dunlop replied, "I aye tak' my tea better when my wark's dune. I'll just be gaun on. Ye can hing the pan on, an' lea' the door ajar, an' I'll draw to a close in the prayer when I hear the haam fizzin'."


It was a strange instance of alleged obedience to orders in the case of a father's will, which a brute of a fellow displayed in turning his younger brother out-of-doors. He was vociferously remonstrated with by the neighbors on the gross impropriety of such conduct. "Sure," said he, "it's the will; I'm ordered to divide the house betune myself and my brother, so I've taken the inside and given him the outside."


In one of our northern counties, a rural district had its harvest operations seriously affected by continuous rains. The crops being much laid, wind was desired in order to restore them to a condition fit for the sickle. A minister, in his Sabbath services, expressed their wants in prayer as follows:—"Send us wind, no a rantin', tantin', tearin' wind, but a noohin' (noughin?), soughin', winnin' wind." More expressive words than these could not be found in any language.


The Duke of Wellington, when Premier, was the terror of the idlers in Downing Street. On one occasion when the Treasury clerks told him that some required mode of making up the accounts was impracticable, they were met with the curt reply: "Never mind, if you can't do it, I'll send you half-a-dozen pay sergeants that will,"—a hint that they did not fail to take.


Meeting a negro on the road, a traveller said, "You have lost some of your friends, I see?"—"Yes, massa."—"Was[Pg 260] it a near or a distant relative?"—"Well, purty distant,—'bout twenty-four mile," was the reply.


"Ho! Tommy," bawls Type, to a brother in trade,
"The ministry are to be changed, it is said."
"That's good," replied Tom, "but it better would be
With a trifling erratum."—"What?"—"Dele the c."


A gentleman, thinking he was charged too much by a porter for the delivery of a parcel, asked him what his name was. "My name," replied the man, "is the same as my father's."—"And what is his name?" said the gentleman. "It is the same as mine."—"Then what are both your names?"—"Why, they are both alike," answered the man again, and very deliberately walked off.


Booth, the tragedian, had a broken nose. A lady once remarked to him, "I like your acting, Mr. Booth; but, to be frank with you,—I can't get over your nose!"—"No wonder, madam," replied he, "the bridge is gone!"


It is remarkable that —— is of an exceedingly cheerful disposition, though the very little piece of mind he possesses is proverbial.


A writer in one of the Reviews was boasting that he was in the habit of distributing literary reputation. "Yes," replied his friend, "and you have done it so profusely that you have left none for yourself."


How monarchs die is easily explained,
For thus upon their tombs it might be chiselled;
As long as George the Fourth could reign, he reigned,
And then he mizzled!
[Pg 261]


P—— had a high respect for the literary character. At a great man's house a stranger stopped that P—— might enter the room before him. "Pass, sir," said the master of the house, "it is only Mr. P——, the author."—"As my rank is mentioned," cried P., "I shall claim the preference"; and accordingly took the lead.


Dr. Mead, calling one day on a gentleman who had been severely afflicted with the gout, found, to his surprise, the disease gone, and the patient rejoicing on his recovery over a bottle of wine. "Ah!" said the doctor, shaking his head, "this Madeira will never do; it is the cause of all your suffering."—"Well, then," rejoined the gay incurable, "fill your glass, for now we have found out the cause, the sooner we get rid of it the better."


A lady asked a sailor whom she met, why a ship was called "she." The son of Neptune replied that it was "because the rigging cost more than the hull."


A linen-draper having advertised his stock to be sold under prime cost, a neighbor observed that, "It was impossible, as he had never paid a farthing for it himself."


A mother admonishing her son (a lad about seven years of age), told him he should never defer till to-morrow what he could do to-day. The little urchin replied, "Then, mother, let's eat the remainder of the plum-pudding to-night."


A merchant having been attacked by some thieves at five in the afternoon, said: "Gentlemen, you open shop early to-day."[Pg 262]


James the Second, when Duke of York, made a visit to Milton the poet, and asked him, amongst other things, if he did not think the loss of his sight a judgment upon him for what he had written against his father, Charles the First. Milton answered, "If your Highness think my loss of sight a judgment upon me, what do you think of your father's losing his head?"


It sounds like paradox,—and yet 'tis true,
You're like your picture, though it's not like you.


It is strange that the Church dignitaries, the further they advance in their profession, become the more incorrigible; at least, before they have gone many steps, they may be said to be past a cure.


A rich upstart once asked a poor person if he had any idea of the advantages arising from riches. "I believe they give a rogue an advantage over an honest man," was the reply.


One of the best practical jokes in Theodore Hook's clever "Gilbert Gurney," is Daly's hoax upon the lady who had never been at Richmond before, or, at least, knew none of the peculiarities of the place. Daly desired the waiter, after dinner, to bring some "maids of honor"—those cheesecakes for which the place has, time out of mind, been celebrated. The lady stared, then laughed, and asked, "What do you mean by 'maids of honor?'"—"Dear me!" said Daly, "don't you know that this is so courtly a place, and so completely under the influence of state etiquette, that everything in Richmond is called after the functionaries of the palace? What are called cheesecakes elsewhere, are here called maids of honor; a[Pg 263] capon is called a lord chamberlain; a goose is a lord steward; a roast pig is a master of the horse; a pair of ducks, grooms of the bedchamber; a gooseberry-tart, a gentleman usher of the black rod; and so on." The unsophisticated lady was taken in, when she actually saw the maids of honor make their appearance in the shape of cheesecakes; she convulsed the whole party by turning to the waiter, and desiring him, in a sweet but decided tone, to bring her a gentleman usher of the black rod, if they had one in the house quite cold!


Lord Chatham had settled a plan for some sea expedition he had in view, and sent orders to Lord Anson to see the necessary arrangements taken immediately. Mr. Cleveland was sent from the Admiralty to remonstrate on the impossibility of obeying them. He found his lordship in the most excruciating pain, from one of the most severe fits of the gout he had ever experienced. "Impossible, sir," said he, "don't talk to me of impossibilities": and then, raising himself upon his legs, while the sweat stood in large drops upon his forehead, and every fibre of his body was convulsed with agony, "Go, sir, and tell his lordship, that he has to do with a minister who actually treads on impossibilities."


In the cloisters of Trinity College, beneath the library, are grated windows, through which many of the students have occasionally, after the gates were locked, taken the liberty of passing, without an exeat, in rather a novel style. A certain Cantab was in the act of drawing himself through the bars, and being more than an ordinary mortal's bulk, he stuck fast. One of the fellows of the college passing, stepped up to the student and asked him ironically, "If he should assist him?"—"Thank you," was the reply, "I can get through!" at the same instant he drew himself back on the outside.


Formerly, members of parliament had the privilege of[Pg 264] franking letters sent by post. When this was so, a sender on one occasion applied to the post-office to know why some of his franked letters had been charged. He was told that the name on the letter did not appear to be in his handwriting. "It was not," he replied, "precisely the same; but the truth is, I happened to be a little tipsy when I franked them."—"Then, sir, will you be so good in future as to write drunk when you make free?"


Waller, the poet, who was bred at King's College, wrote a fine panegyric on Cromwell, when he assumed the protectorship. Upon the restoration of Charles, Waller wrote another in praise of him, and presented it to the king in person. After his majesty had read the poem, he told Waller that he wrote a better on Cromwell. "Please your majesty," said Waller, like a true courtier, "we poets are always more happy in fiction than in truth."


A party of bon-vivants, having drunk an immense quantity of wine, rang for the bill. The bill was accordingly brought, but the amount appeared so enormous to one of the company (not quite so far gone as the rest) that he stammered out, it was impossible so many bottles could have been drunk by seven persons. "True, sir," said the waiter, "but your honor forgets the three gentlemen under the table."


A gentleman was speaking of the kindness of his friends in visiting him. One old aunt, in particular, visited him twice a year, and stayed six months each time.


A man, praising porter, said it was so excellent a beverage, that, though taken in great quantities, it always made him fat. "I have seen the time," said another, "when it made you lean,"—"When? I should be glad[Pg 265] to know," inquired the eulogist. "Why, no longer ago than last night,—against a wall."


Joseph II., emperor of Germany, travelling in his usual way, without his retinue, attended by only a single aide-de-camp, arrived very late at the house of an Englishman, who kept an inn in the Netherlands. After eating a few slices of ham and biscuit, the emperor and his attendant retired to rest, and in the morning paid their bill, which amounted to only three shillings and sixpence, English, and rode off. A few hours afterwards, several of his suite arrived, and the publican, understanding the rank of his guest, appeared very uneasy. "Psha! psha! man," said one of the attendants, "Joseph is accustomed to such adventures, and will think no more of it."—"But I shall" replied the landlord; "and never forgive myself for having had an emperor in my house, and letting him off for three and sixpence."


John Magee, formerly the printer of the Dublin Evening Post, was full of shrewdness and eccentricity. Several prosecutions were instituted against him by the government, and many "keen encounters of the tongue" took place on these occasions between him and John Scott, Lord Clonmel, who was at that period Chief Justice of the King's Bench. In addressing the Court in his own defence, Magee had occasion to allude to some public character, who was better known by a familiar designation. The official gravity of Clonmel was disturbed; and he, with bilious asperity, reproved the printer, by saying, "Mr. Magee, we allow no nicknames in this court,"—-"Very well, John Scott," was the reply.


After the death of the poet Chatterton, there was found among his papers, indorsed on a letter intended for publication, addressed to Beckford, then Lord Mayor, dated May 26, 1770, the following memorandum: "Accepted[Pg 266] by Bingley, set for, and thrown out of, the North Briton, 21st June, on account of the Lord Mayor's death:—

Lost by his death on this essay£ 1116
Gained in elegies220
Gained in essays330
Am glad he is dead by3136."

Yet the evident heartlessness of this calculation has been ingeniously vindicated by Southey, in the Quarterly Review.


I would not pay a coin to see
An animal much larger;
Surely the mammoth horse must be
Rather an overcharger.


A Cantab chanced to enter a strange church, and after he had been seated some little time, another person was ushered into the same pew with him. The stranger pulled out of his pocket a prayer-book, and offered to share it with the Cantab, though he perceived he had one in his hand. This courtesy proceeded from a mere ostentatious display of his learning, as it proved to be in Latin. The Cantab immediately declined the offer by saying, "Sir, I read nothing but Hebrew!"


When Captain Grose, who was very fat, first went over to Ireland, he one evening strolled into the principal meat market of Dublin, where the butchers, as usual, set up their usual cry of "What d'ye buy? What d'ye buy?" Grose parried this for some time by saying he did not want anything. At last, a butcher starts from his stall, and eyeing Grose's figure, exclaimed, "Only say you buy your meat of me, sir, and you will make my fortune."[Pg 267]


An Irish lawyer, famed for cross-examining, was, on one occasion, completely silenced by a horse-dealer. "Pray, Mr. ——, you belong to a very honest profession?"—"I can't say so," replied the witness; "for, saving you lawyers, I think it the most dishonest going."


It was an observation of Elwes, the noted miser, that if you keep one servant your work will be done; if you keep two, it will be half done; and if you keep three, you will have to do it yourself.


A gentleman, praising the personal charms of a very plain woman in the presence of Foote, the latter said: "And why don't you lay claim to such an accomplished beauty?"—"What right have I to her?" exclaimed the gentleman. "Every right, by the law of nations," replied Foote; "every right, as the first discoverer."


At Plymouth there is, or was, a small green opposite the Government House, over which no one was permitted to pass. Not a creature was allowed to approach, save the General's cow. One day old Lady D——, having called at the General's, in order to make a short cut, bent her steps across the lawn, when she was arrested by the sentry calling out, and desiring her to return. "But," said lady D——, with a stately air, "do you know who I am?"—"I don't know who you be, ma'am," replied the immovable sentry, "but I knows you b'aint—you b'aint the General's cow." So Lady D—— wisely gave up the argument, and went the other way.


A gentleman being prevailed upon to taste a lady's home-made wine, was asked for an opinion of what he had tasted. "I always give a candid one," said her[Pg 268] guest, "where eating and drinking are concerned. It is admirable stuff to catch flies."


The British sailors had always been accustomed to drink their allowance of brandy or rum clear, till Admiral Vernon ordered those under his command to mix it with water. The innovation gave great offence to the sailors, and for a time rendered the commander very unpopular among them. The admiral at that time wore a grogram coat, for which reason they nicknamed him "Old Grog," &c. Hence, by degrees, the mixed liquor he constrained them to drink universally obtained among them the name of grog.


A gentleman, speaking of the happiness of the married state before his daughter, disparagingly said, "She who marries, does well; but she who does not marry, does better."—"Well then," said the young lady, "I will do well; let those who choose do better."


Dr. South, when once preaching before Charles II., observed that the monarch and his attendants began to nod, and some of them soon after snored, on which he broke off in his sermon, and said: "Lord Lauderdale, let me entreat you to rouse yourself; you snore so loud that you will awake the king!"


Lord Byron notes: "What a wreck is Sheridan! and all from bad pilotage; for no one had ever better gales, though now and then a little squally. Poor dear Sherry! I shall never forget the day he, and Rogers, and Moore, and I passed together, when he talked and we listened, without one yawn, from six to one in the morning."

One night, Sheridan was found in the street by a watchman, bereft of that "divine particle of air" called reason, and fuddled, and bewildered, and almost insensible.[Pg 269] The watchman asked, "Who are you, sir?" No answer. "What's your name?" A hiccup. "What's your name?" Answer, in a slow, deliberate, and impassive tone, "Wilberforce!" Byron notes: "Is not that Sherry all over?—and, to my mind, excellent. Poor fellow! his very dregs are better than the first sprightly runnings of others."


Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, in King Charles II.'s time, was saying one day to Sir Robert Viner, in a melancholy humor: "I am afraid, Sir Robert, I shall die a beggar at last, which is the most terrible thing in the world."—"Upon my word, my lord," said Sir Robert, "there is another thing more terrible which you have to apprehend, and that is that you will live a beggar, at the rate you go on."


A worthy Roman Catholic clergyman, well known as "Priest Matheson," and universally respected in the district, had charge of a mission in Aberdeenshire, and for a long time made his journeys on a piebald pony, the priest and his "Pyet Shelty" sharing an affectionate recognition wherever they came. On one occasion, however, he made his appearance on a steed of a different description, and passing near a Seceding meeting-house, he forgathered with the minister, who, after the usual kindly greetings, missing the familiar pony, said, "Ou, priest! fat's come o' the auld Pyet?"—"He's deid, minister."—"Weel, he was an auld faithfu' servant, and ye wad nae doot gie him the offices o' the Church?"—"Na, minister," said his friend, not quite liking this allusion to his priestly offices, "I didna dee that, for ye see he turned Seceder afore he deed, an' I buried him like a beast." He then rode quietly away.


Among the witty aphorisms upon this unsafe topic, are Lord Alvanley's description of a man who "muddled away his fortune in paying his tradesmen's bills"; Lord Orford's[Pg 270] definition of timber, "an excrescence on the face of the earth, placed there by Providence for the payment of debts"; and Pelham's argument, that it is respectable to be arrested, because it shows that the party once had credit.


A lady's-maid told her mistress that she once swallowed several pins together. "Dear me!" said the lady, "didn't they kill you?"


A bon-vivant, brought to his death-bed by an immoderate use of wine, after having been told that he could not in all human probability survive many hours, and would die by eight o clock next morning, exerted the small remains of his strength to call the doctor back, and said, with the true spirit of a gambler, "doctor, I'll bet you a bottle I live till nine!"


Though upon great occasions Burke was one of the most eloquent of men that ever sat in the British senate, he had in ordinary matters as much as any man the faculty of tiring his auditors. During the latter years of his life the failing gained so much upon him, that he more than once dispersed the house, a circumstance which procured him the nickname of the Dinner-bell. A gentleman was one day going into the House, when he was surprised to meet a great number of people coming out in a body. "Is the House up?" said he: "No," answered one of the fugitives, "but Mr. Burke is up."


It appears that there were two persons of the name of Dr. John Thomas, not easily to be distinguished; for somebody (says Bishop Newton) was speaking of Dr. Thomas, when it was asked, "which Dr. Thomas do you mean?"—"Dr. John Thomas."—"They are both named John."—"Dr. Thomas who has a living in the city."—"They have both livings in the city."—"Dr.[Pg 271] Thomas who is chaplain to the king."—"They are both chaplains to the king."—"Dr. Thomas who is a very good preacher."—"They are both good preachers."—"Dr. Thomas who squints."—"They both squint." They were afterwards both Bishops.


"My stars!" cried a courtier, with stars and lace twirled,
"What homage we nobles command in the world!"
"True, my lord," said a wag, "though the world has its jars,
Some people owe much to their fortunate stars!"


Towards the close of the administration of Sir Robert Walpole, he was talking very freely to some of his friends of the vanity and vexations of office, and, alluding to his intended retirement, quoted from Horace the following passage:—

"Lusisti satis, edisti satis, atque bibisti:
Tempus abire tibi est."

"Pray, Sir Robert," said one of his friends, "is that good Latin?"—"I think so," answered Sir. Robert; "what objection have you to it?"—"Why," said the other dryly, "I did not know but the word might be bribe-isti in your Horace."


Foote, the actor, was one day taken into White's Club-House by a friend who wanted to write a note. Lord Carmarthen approached to speak to him; but feeling rather shy, he merely said, "Mr. Foote, your handkerchief is hanging out of your pocket." Foote, looking suspiciously round, and hurriedly thrusting the handkerchief back into his pocket, replied, "Thank you, my lord: you know the company better than I do."


In cleanliness, the Duke was negligent to so great a degree,[Pg 272] that he rarely made use of water for purposes of bodily refreshment and comfort. Nor did he change his linen more frequently than he washed himself. Complaining, one day, to Dudley North, that he was a martyr to rheumatism, and had ineffectually tried every remedy for its relief, "Pray, my lord," said he, "did you ever try a clean shirt?"


An Irish gentleman, resident in Canada, was desirous to persuade his sons to work as backwoodsmen, instead of drinking champagne at something more than a dollar a bottle. Whenever this old gentleman saw his sons so engaged he used to exclaim, "Ah, my boys! there goes an acre of land, trees and all."


Bishop Andrews, who was master and a great benefactor of Pembroke Hall, was one day at court with Waller the poet, and others. While King James was at dinner, attended by Andrews, Bishop of Winchester, and Neale, Bishop of Durham, his Majesty said to the prelates: "My lords, cannot I take my subjects' money when I want it, without all this formality in Parliament?" Bishop Neale quickly replied, "God forbid, sir, but you should: you are the breath of our nostrils." On which the king said to the Bishop of Winchester, "Well, my lord, and what say you?"—"Sir," replied Andrews, "I have no skill to judge of Parliamentary cases."—"Come, come," answered his Majesty, "no put-offs, my lord; answer me presently."—"Then, sir," said Andrews, "I think it lawful for you to take my brother Neale's money, for he offers it."


When the Duke de Choiseul, who was a remarkably meagre-looking man, came to London to negotiate a peace, Charles Townsend, being asked whether the French government had sent the preliminaries of a treaty, answered, "he did not know, but they had sent the outline of an ambassador."[Pg 273]


A worthy English agriculturist visited the great dinner-table of the Astor House Hotel, in New York, and took up the bill of fare. His eye caught up the names of its—to him—unknown dishes: "Soupe à la flamande"—"Soupe à la Creci"—"Langue de Bœuf piquée"—"Pieds de Cochon à la Ste. Ménéhould"—"Patés de sanglier"—"Patés à la gelée de volailles"—"Les cannelons de crème glacée." It was too much for his simple heart. Laying down the scarlet-bound volume in disgust, he cried to the waiter, "Here, my good man, I shall go back to first principles! Give us some beans and bacon!"


It is with narrow-souled people as with narrow-necked bottles,—the less they have in them, the more noise they make in pouring it out.


At a party in Portman Square, Brummell's snuff-box was particularly admired: it was handed round, and a gentleman, finding it rather difficult to open, incautiously applied a dessert-knife to the lid. Poor Brummell was on thorns; at last he could not contain himself any longer, and, addressing the host, said, with his characteristic quaintness, "Will you be good enough to tell your friend that my snuff-box is not an oyster."


Lord Plunket is said to have acutely felt his forced resignation of the Irish Chancellorship, and his supersedeas by Lord Campbell. A violent tempest arose on the day of the latter's expected arrival, and a friend remarking to Plunket how sick of his promotion the passage must have made the new comer; "Yes," replied the ex-chancellor, ruefully, "but it won't make him throw up the seals."


Admiral Duncan's address to the officers who came on board his ship for instructions previous to the engagement[Pg 274] with Admiral de Winter, was both laconic and humorous: "Gentlemen, you see a severe winter approaching; I have only to advise you to keep up a good fire."


The late Duke of Grafton, when hunting, was thrown into a ditch; at the same time a young curate, calling out "Lie still, your Grace"; leaped over him, and pursued his sport. On being assisted to remount by his attendants, the duke said, "That young man shall have the first good living that falls to my disposal; had he stopped to have taken care of me, I never would have patronized him," being delighted with an ardor similar to his own, or with a spirit that would not stoop to flatter.


A man of wit being asked what pleasure he could have in the company of a pretty woman who was a loquacious simpleton, replied, "I love to see her talk."


A soldier, who was being led to the gallows, saw a crowd of people running on before. "Don't be in such a hurry," said he to them. "I can assure you nothing will be done without me."


Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, was making his complaint to Sir John Cutler, a rich miser, of the disorder of his affairs, and asked him what he should do to avoid the ruin. "Live as I do, my lord," said Sir John. "That I can do," answered the duke, "when I am ruined."


Lord Byron knew a dull man who lived on a bon mot of Moore's for a week; and his lordship once offered a wager of a considerable sum that the reciter was guiltless of understanding its point; but he could get no one to accept the bet.[Pg 275]


Professor Saunderson, who occupied so distinguished a situation in the University of Cambridge as that of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, was quite blind. Happening to make one in a large party, he remarked of a lady, who had just left the room, that she had very white teeth. The company were anxious to learn how he had discovered this, which was very true. "I have reason," observed the professor, "to believe that the lady is not a fool, and I can think of no other motive for her laughing incessantly, as she did for a whole hour together."


A farmer having bought a barn in partnership with a neighbor who neglected to make use of it, plentifully stored his own part with corn, and expostulated with his partner on having laid out his money in so useless a way, adding, "You had better do something with it, as you see I have done."—"As to that, neighbor," replied the other, "every man has a right to do what he will with his own, and you have done so; but I have made up my mind about my part of the property,—I shall set it on fire."


Two ladies disputed for precedency, one the daughter of a wealthy brewer, the other the daughter of a gentleman of small fortune. "You are to consider, miss," said the brewer's daughter, "that my papa keeps a coach."—"Very true, miss," said the other, "and you are to consider that he likewise keeps a dray."


A husband, who only opposed his wife's ill humor by silence, was told by a friend that he "was afraid of his wife."—"It is not she I am afraid of," replied the husband, "it is the noise."


Thelwall and Coleridge were sitting once in a beautiful[Pg 276] recess in the Quantock Hills, when the latter said, "Citizen John, this is a fine place to talk treason in!"—"Nay, Citizen Samuel," replied he; "It is rather a place to make a man forget that there is any necessity for treason!"


Sydney Smith, after Macaulay's return from the East, remarked to a friend who had been speaking of the distinguished conversationalist: "Yes, he is certainly more agreeable since his return from India. His enemies might perhaps have said before (though I never did so) that he talked rather too much; but now he has occasional flashes of silence, that make his conversation perfectly delightful!"


The ferryman, whilst plying over a water which was only slightly agitated, was asked by a timid lady in his boat, whether any persons were ever lost in that river. "O no," said he, "we always finds 'em agin the next day."


An old soldier having been brought up to vote at an election at the expense of one of the candidates, voted for his opponent, and when reproached for his conduct, replied, "Always quarter upon the enemy, my lads; always quarter upon the enemy."


That erudite Cantab, Bishop Burnett, preaching before Charles II., being much warmed with his subject, uttered some religious truth with great vehemence, and at the same time, striking his fist on the desk with great violence, cried out, "Who dare deny this?"—"Faith," said the king, in a tone more piano than that of the orator, "nobody that is within the reach of that fist of yours."


Dr. Thomas Brown courted a lady for many years,[Pg 277] but unsuccessfully, during which time it had been his custom to drink the lady's health before that of any other; but being observed one evening to omit it, a gentleman reminded him of it, and said, "Come, doctor, drink the lady, your toast." The doctor replied, "I have toasted her many years, and I cannot make her Brown, so I'll toast her no longer."


A lady the other day meeting a girl who had lately left her service, inquired, "Well, Mary, where do you live now?"—"Please, ma'am, I don't live nowhere now," rejoined the girl; "I am married!"


An old sportsman, who, at the age of eighty-three, was met by a friend riding very fast, and was asked what he was in pursuit of? "Why, sir," replied the other, "I am riding after my eighty-fourth year."


Mr. Tierney, when alluding to the difficulty the Foxites and Pittites had in passing over to join each other in attacking the Addington Ministry (forgetting at the moment how easily he had himself overcome a like difficulty in joining that Ministry), alluded to the puzzle of the Fox and the Goose, and did not clearly expound his idea. Whereupon, Mr. Dudley North said, "It's himself he means,—who left the Fox to go over to the Goose, and put the bag of oats in his pocket."


"If I were so unlucky," said an officer, "as to have a stupid son, I would certainly by all means make him a parson." A clergyman who was in company calmly replied, "You think differently, sir, from your father."


The laird of M'N——b was writing a letter from an Edinburgh coffee-house, when a friend observed that he[Pg 278] was setting at defiance the laws of orthography and grammar. "I ken that weel eno'!" exclaimed the Highland chieftain, "but how can a man write grammar with a pen like this?"


"Zounds, fellow!" exclaimed a choleric old gentleman to a very phlegmatic matter-of-fact person, "I shall go out of my wits."—"Well, you won't have far to go," said the phlegmatic man.


Admiral Lord Howe, when a captain, was once hastily awakened in the middle of the night by the lieutenant of the watch, who informed him with great agitation that the ship was on fire near the magazine. "If that be the case," said he, rising leisurely to put on his clothes, "we shall soon know it." The lieutenant flew back to the scene of danger, and almost instantly returning, exclaimed, "You need not, sir, be afraid, the fire is extinguished."—"Afraid!" exclaimed Howe, "what do you mean by that, sir? I never was afraid in my life"; and looking the lieutenant full in the face, he added, "Pray, how does a man feel, sir, when he is afraid? I need not ask how he looks."


Dr. John Wilkins wrote a work in the reign of Charles II., to show the possibility of making a voyage to the moon. The Duchess of Newcastle, who was likewise notorious for her vagrant speculations, said to him, "Doctor, where am I to bait at in the upward journey?"—"My lady," replied the doctor, "of all the people in the world, I never expected that question from you; who have built so many castles in the air that you might lie every night at one of your own."


This monarch, after the death of Jane Seymour, had some difficulty to get another wife. His first offer was to[Pg 279] the Duchess Dowager of Milan; but her answer was, "She had but one head; if she had two, one should have been at his service."


Burke's was a complete failure, when he flung the dagger on the floor of the House of Commons, and produced nothing but a smothered laugh, and a joke from Sheridan.—"The gentleman has brought us the knife, but where is the fork?"


A clergyman in the country taking his text from the fourteenth verse of the third chapter of St. Matthew: "And Peter's wife's mother lay sick of a fever," preached three Sundays on the same subject. Soon after, two country fellows going across a churchyard, and hearing the bell toll, one asked the other who it was for? "I can't exactly tell," replied he; "but it may be for Peter's wife's mother, for she has been sick of a fever these three weeks."


"How long is this loch?"

"It will be about twanty mile."

"Twenty miles! surely it cannot be so much?"

"Maybe it will be twelve."

"It does not really seem more than four."

"Indeed, I'm thinking you're right."

"Really, you seem to know nothing about the matter."

"Troth, I canna say I do."


Soon after Lord ——'s elevation to the peerage, he remarked that authors were often very ridiculous in the titles they gave. "That," said a distinguished writer present, "is an error from which even sovereigns appear not to be exempt."[Pg 280]


Who was then Archbishop of Canterbury, on King William's complaining of the shortness of his sermon, answered, "Sire, could I have bestowed more time upon it, it would not have been so long!"


Some clever fellow has invented a new kind of ink, called "the love-letter ink." It is a sure preventive against all cases of "breach of promise," as the ink fades away, and leaves the sheet blank, in about four weeks after being written upon.


A person not far from Torrington, Devon, whose face is somewhat above the ordinary dimensions, has been waited on and shaved by a certain barber every day for twenty-one years, without coming to any regular settlement; the tradesman, thinking it time to wind up the account, carried in his bill, charging one penny per day, which amounted to 31l. 9s. 2d. The gentleman, thinking this rather exorbitant, made some scruple about payment, when the tonsor proposed, if his customer thought proper, to charge by the acre, at the rate of 200l. This was readily agreed to, and on measuring the premises, 192 square inches proved to be the contents, which, traversed over 7670 times, would measure 1,472,640 inches, the charge for which would be 46l. 19s. 1d.—being 15l. 9s. 11d. in favor of chin-surveying.


Barry the painter was with Nollekens at Rome in 1760, and they were extremely intimate. Barry took the liberty one night, when they were about to leave the English coffee-house, to exchange hats with him. Barry's was edged with lace, and Nollekens's was a very shabby, plain one. Upon his returning the hat the next morning, he was asked by Nollekens why he left him his gold-laced hat. "Why, to tell you the truth, my dear Joey," answered[Pg 281] Barry, "I fully expected assassination last night; and I was to have been known by my laced hat." Nollekens used to relate the story, adding, "It's what the Old-Bailey people would call a true bill against Jem."


Dr. Goodall, of Eton, about the same time that he was made Provost of Eton, received also a Stall at Windsor. A young lady, whilst congratulating him on his elevation, and requesting him to give a ball during the vacation, happened to touch his wig with her fan, and caused the powder to fly about; upon which the doctor exclaimed, "My dear, you see you can get the powder out of the cannon, but not the ball."


During Pope's last illness, a squabble happened in his chamber, between his two physicians, Dr. Burton and Dr. Thomson, they mutually charging each other with hastening the death of the patient by improper prescriptions. Pope at length silenced them by saying, "Gentlemen, I only learn by your discourse that I am in a dangerous way; therefore, all I now ask is, that the following epigram may be added after my death to the next edition of the Dunciad, by way of postscript:—

'Dunces rejoice, forgive all censures past,
The greatest dunce has killed your foe at last.'"


General Sutton was very passionate, and calling one morning on Sir Robert Walpole, who was quite the reverse, found his servant shaving him. During the conversation, Sir Robert said, "John, you cut me"; and continued the former subject of discourse. Presently he said again, "John, you cut me"; but as mildly as before: and soon after he had occasion to say it a third time; when Sutton, starting up in a rage, said, swearing a great oath, and doubling his fist at the servant, "If Sir Robert can bear it, I cannot; and if you cut him once more, John, I'll knock you down."[Pg 282]


A woman having fallen into a river, her husband went to look for her, proceeding up the stream from the place where she fell in. The bystanders asked him if he was mad,—she could not have gone against the stream. The man answered, "She was obstinate and contrary in her life, and no doubt she was the same at her death."


A poor but clever student in the University of Glasgow was met by one of the Professors, who noticing the scantiness of his academical toga, said, "Mr. ——, your gown is very short."—"It will be long enough, sir, before I get another," replied the student. The answer tickled the Professor greatly, and he went on quietly chuckling to himself, when he met a brother Professor, who, noticing his hilarity, inquired what was amusing him so much. "Why, that fellow —— said such a funny thing. I asked why his gown was so short, and he said, 'it will be a long time before I get another.'"—"There's nothing very funny in that."—"Well, no," replied the other, "there is not, after all. But it was the way he said it."


It chanced, one gloomy day in the month of December, that a good-humored Irishman applied to a merchant to discount a bill of exchange for him at rather a long though not an unusual date; and the merchant having casually remarked that the bill had a great many days to run, "That's true," replied the Irishman, "but consider how short the days are at this time of the year."


Some unlucky lads in the University bearing a spite to the dean for his severity towards them, went secretly one night and daubed the rails of his staircase with tar. The dean coming down in the dark, dirtied his hands and coat very much with the tar; and, being greatly enraged, he sent for one most suspected to be the author. This the[Pg 283] lad utterly denied; but said, "Truly, I did it not; but if you please, I can tell you who had a hand in it." Here they thought to have found out the truth, and asked him who. The lad answered, "Your worship, sir"; which caused him to be dismissed with great applause for his ingenuity.


When Lord B—— died, a person met an old man who was one of his most intimate friends. He was pale, confused, awe-stricken. Every one was trying to console him, but in vain. "His loss," he exclaimed, "does not affect me so much as his horrible ingratitude. Would you believe it? he died without leaving me anything in his will,—I, who have dined with him, at his own house, three times a week for thirty years!"


When Lord Melcombe's name was plain Bubb, he was intended by the administration to be sent ambassador to Spain. Lord Chesterfield met him, and told him he was not a fit person to be representative of the crown of England at the Spanish court, on account of the shortness of his name, as the Spaniards pride themselves on the length of their titles, "unless," added his lordship, "you don't mind calling yourself Silly-Bubb!"


An eminent painter was once asked what he mixed his colors with in order to produce so extraordinary an effect. "I mix them with brains, sir!" was his answer.


In the museum at Abbotsford there is a small Roman patera, or goblet, in showing which Sir Walter Scott tells the following story: "I purchased this" (says he) "at a nobleman's roup near by, at the enormous sum of twenty-five guineas. I would have got it for twenty-pence if an antiquary who knew its value had not been there and opposed me. However, I was almost consoled for the bitter[Pg 284] price it cost by the amusement I derived from an old woman, who had evidently come from a distance to purchase some trifling culinary articles, and who had no taste for the antique. At every successive guinea which we bade for the patera this good old lady's mouth grew wider and wider with unsophisticated astonishment, until at last I heard her mutter to herself, in a tone which I shall never forget,—'Five-an-twenty guineas! If the parritch-pan gangs at that, what will the kail-pan gang for!'"


Horne Tooke having challenged Wilkes, who was then Sheriff of London and Middlesex, received the following laconic reply: "Sir, I do not think it my business to cut the throat of every desperado that may be tired of his life; but, as I am at present High Sheriff of the city of London, it may happen that I shall shortly have an opportunity of attending you in my official capacity, in which case I will answer for it that you shall have no ground to complain of my endeavors to serve you."


A Scotch lady gave her servant very particular instructions regarding visitors, explaining, that they were to be shown into the drawing-room, and no doubt used the Scotticism, "Carry any ladies that call up stairs." On the arrival of the first visitors, Donald was eager to show his strict attention to the mistress's orders. Two ladies came together, and Donald, seizing one in his arms, said to the other, "Bide ye there till I come for ye," and, in spite of her struggles and remonstrances, ushered the terrified visitor into his mistress's presence in this unwonted fashion.


The late James Smith might often be seen at the Garrick Club, restricting himself at dinner to a half-pint of sherry; whence he was designated an incorporated temperance society. The late Sir William Aylett, a grumbling member of the Union, and a two-bottle-man, observing[Pg 285] Mr. Smith to be thus frugally furnished, eyed his cruet with contempt, and exclaimed: "So I see you have got one of those life-preservers!"


Dr. Glynn, whose name is still remembered in Cambridge, being one day in attendance on a lady, in the quality of her physician, took the liberty of lecturing her on the impropriety of eating cucumber, of which she was immoderately fond, and gave her the following humorous receipt for dressing them: "Peel the cucumber," said the doctor, "with great care; then cut it into very thin slices, pepper and salt it well, and then—throw it away."


Captain Innes of the Guards (usually called Jock Innes by his contemporaries) was with others getting ready for Flushing, or some of those expeditions at the beginning of the great war. His commanding officer remonstrated about the badness of his hat, and recommended a new one. "Na! na! bide a wee," said Jock; "whare we're ga'in', faith there'll soon be mair hats nor heads."


Sir William B. being at a parish meeting, made some proposals which were objected to by a farmer. Highly enraged, "Sir," said he to the farmer, "do you know that I have been at two universities, and at two colleges in each university?"—"Well, sir," replied the farmer, "what of that? I had a calf that sucked two cows, and the observation I made was, the more he sucked the greater calf he grew."


In an Irish paper was an advertisement for horses to stand at livery, on the following terms:—

    Long-tailed horses, at 3s. 6d. per week.
    Short-tailed horses at 3s. per week.

On inquiry into the cause of the difference, it was answered,[Pg 286] that the horses with long tails could brush the flies off their backs while eating, whereas the short-tailed horses were obliged to take their heads from the manger.


When the Duke of Wellington was at Paris, as Commander of the Allied Armies, he was invited to dine with Cambacères, one of the most distinguished statesmen and gourmets of the time of Napoleon. In the course of dinner, his host having helped him to some particularly recherché dish, expressed a hope that he found it agreeable. "Very good," said the Duke, who was probably reflecting on Waterloo; "very good, but I really do not care what I eat."—"Don't care what you eat!" exclaimed Cambacères, as he started back, and dropped his fork; "what did you come here for, then!"


"All that is necessary for the enjoyment of sausages at breakfast is confidence."


A Jew, who was condemned to be hanged, was brought to the gallows, and was just on the point of being turned off, when a reprieve arrived. When informed of this, it was expected he would instantly have quitted the cart, but he stayed to see a fellow-prisoner hanged; and being asked why he did not get about his business, he said, "he waited to see if he could bargain with Mr. Ketch for the other gentleman's clothes."


In the list of benefactors to Peter-House is Lady Mary Ramsay, who is reported to have offered a very large property, nearly equal to a new foundation to this college, on condition that the name should be changed to Peter and Mary's; but she was thwarted in her intention by Dr. Soame, then master. "Peter," said the crabbed humorist, "has been too long a bachelor to think of a female companion in his old days."[Pg 287]


"I swear," said a gentleman to his mistress, "you are very handsome."—"Pooh!" said the lady, "so you would say if you did not think so."—"And so you would think," answered he, "though I should not say so."


A lecturer, wishing to explain to a little girl the manner in which a lobster casts his shell when he has outgrown it, said, "What do you do when you have outgrown your clothes? You throw them aside, don't you?"—"O no!" replied the little one, "we let out the tucks!" The doctor confessed she had the advantage of him there.


A facetious old gentleman, who thought his two sons consumed too much time in hunting and shooting, styled them Nimrod and Ramrod.


Upon the occasion of the birth of the Princess Royal, the Duke of Wellington was in the act of leaving Buckingham Palace, when he met Lord Hill; in answer to whose inquiries about Her Majesty and the little stranger, his grace replied, "Very fine child, and very red, very red; nearly as red as you, Hill!" a jocose allusion to Lord Hill's claret complexion.


In a country market a lady, laying her hand upon a joint of veal, said, "Mr. Smallbone, I think this veal is not quite so white as usual."—"Put on your gloves, madam," replied the butcher, "and you will think differently." The lady did so, and the veal was ordered home immediately.


It may be all very well to say that the office of a tax-gatherer needs no great ability for the fulfilment of its duties,[Pg 288] but there is no employment which requires such constant application.


Scott is known to have profited much by Constable's bibliographical knowledge, which was very extensive. The latter christened "Kenilworth," which Scott named "Cumnor Hall." John Ballantyne objected to the former title, and told Constable the result would be "something worthy of the kennel"; but the result proved the reverse. Mr. Cadell relates that Constable's vanity boiled over so much at this time, on having his suggestions gone into, that, in his high moods, he used to stalk up and down his room, and exclaim, "By Jove, I am all but the author of the Waverley Novels!"


Le Sage, the author of Gil Blas, said, to console himself for his deafness, with his usual humor, "When I go into a company where I find a great number of blockheads and babblers, I replace my trumpet in my pocket, and cry, 'Now, gentlemen, I defy you all.'"


A Scotch clergyman preaching a drowsy sermon, asked, "What is the price of earthly pleasure?" The deacon, a fat grocer, woke up hastily from a sound sleep, and cried out, lustily, "Seven-and-sixpence a dozen!"


"Well, sir," asked a noisy disputant, "don't you think that I have mauled my antagonist to some purpose?"—"O yes," replied a listener, "you have,—and if ever I should happen to fight with the Philistines, I'll borrow your jaw-bone!"


The following cannot be omitted from a Jest Book, although somewhat lengthy:—

A man was convicted of bigamy, and the annexed conversation[Pg 289] took place.—Clerk of Assize: "What have you to say why judgment should not be passed upon you according to law?" Prisoner: "Well, my Lord, my wife took up with a hawker, and run away five years ago, and I've never seen her since, and I married this other woman last winter." Mr. Justice Maule: "I will tell you what you ought to have done; and if you say you did not know, I must tell you the law conclusively presumes that you did. You ought to have instructed your attorney to bring an action against the hawker for criminal conversation with your wife. That would have cost you about £100. When you had recovered substantial damages against the hawker, you would have instructed your proctor to sue in the Ecclesiastical Courts for a divorce à mensa atque thoro. That would have cost you £200 or £300 more. When you had obtained a divorce à mensa atque thoro, you would have had to appear by counsel before the House of Lords for a divorce à vinculo matrimonii. The bill might have been opposed in all its stages in both Houses of Parliament; and altogether you would have had to spend about £1000 or £1200. You will probably tell me that you never had a thousand farthings of your own in the world; but, prisoner, that makes no difference. Sitting here as a British judge, it is my duty to tell you that this is not a country in which there is one law for the rich and another for the poor."


In a cause tried in the Court of Queen's Bench, the plaintiff being a widow, and the defendants two medical men who had treated her for delirium tremens, and put her under restraint as a lunatic, witnesses were called on the part of the plaintiff to prove that she was not addicted to drinking. The last witness called by Mr. Montagu Chambers, the leading counsel on the part of the plaintiff, was Dr. Tunstal, who closed his evidence by describing a case of delirium tremens treated by him, in which the patient recovered in a single night. "It was," said the witness, "a case of gradual drinking, sipping all day, from morning till night." These words were scarcely uttered, than Mr. Chambers, turning to the Bench, said, "My lord, that is my case."[Pg 290]


A comedian, who had been almost lifted from his feet by the pressure at the funeral of a celebrated tragedian, ultimately reached the church-door. Having recovered his breath, which had been suspended in the effort, he exclaimed, "And so this is the last we shall ever see of him. Poor fellow! he has drawn a full house, though, to the end."


If anybody comes to I,
I physics, bleeds, and sweats 'em;
If after that they like to die,
Why, what care I, I Lettsom.


A rich man made his will, leaving all he had to a company of fellow-citizens to dispose of, but reserving to his right heir "such a portion as pleased them." The heir having sued the company for his share of the property, the judge inquired whether they wished to carry out the will of the testator, and if so, what provision they proposed making for the heir? "He shall have a tenth part," said they, "and we will retain for ourselves the other nine."—"Take, then," said the judge, "the tenth part to yourselves, and leave the rest to the heir; for by the will he is to have what part 'pleaseth you.'"


When George the Fourth went to Ireland, one of the "pisintry" said to the toll-keeper as the king passed through, "Och, now! an' his majesty never paid the turnpike, an' how's that?"—"O, kings never does; we lets 'em go free," was the answer. "Then there's the dirty money for ye," says Pat; "It shall never be said that the king came here, and found nobody to pay the turnpike for him." Tom Moore told this story to Sir Walter Scott, when they were comparing notes as to the two royal visits. "Now, Moore," replied Scott, "there ye have just the advantage of us: there was no want of[Pg 291] enthusiasm here; the Scotch folk would have done anything in the world for his majesty, except pay the turnpike."


The valet of a man of fashion could get no money from him, and therefore told him that he should seek another master, and begged he would pay him the arrears of his wages. The gentleman, who liked his servant, and was desirous of keeping him, said, "True, I am in your debt, but your wages are running on."—"That's the very thing," answered the valet; "I am afraid they are running so fast, that I shall never catch them."


Bloomfield, thy happy-omened name
Ensures continuance to thy fame;
Both sense and truth this verdict give.
While fields shall bloom, thy name shall live!


A Scotch pedestrian, attacked by three highwaymen, defended himself with great courage, but was at last overpowered, and his pockets rifled. The robbers expected, from the extraordinary resistance they had experienced, to find a rich booty; but were surprised to discover that the whole treasure which the sturdy Caledonian had been defending at the hazard of his life, was only a crooked sixpence. "The deuse is in him," said one of the rogues: "if he had had eighteen-pence I suppose he would have killed the whole of us."


In the year 1797, when democratic notions ran high, the king's coach was attacked as his majesty was going to the House of Peers. A gigantic Hibernian, who was conspicuously loyal in repelling the mob, attracted the attention of the king. Not long after, the Irishman received a message from Mr. Dundas to attend at his office. He went, and met with a gracious reception from the great[Pg 292] man, who praised his loyalty and courage, and desired him to point out any way in which he would wish to be advanced, his majesty being desirous to reward him. Pat hesitated a moment, and then smirkingly said, "I'll tell you what, mister, make a Scotchman of me, and, by St. Patrick, there'll be no fear of my gettin' on." The minister, dumfounded for the moment by the mal-apropos hit, replied, "Make a Scotchman of you, sir! that's impossible, for I can't give you prudence."


The Earl of P—— kept a number of swine at his seat in Wiltshire, and crossing the yard one day he was surprised to see the pigs gathered round one trough, and making a great noise. Curiosity prompted him to see what was the cause, and on looking into the trough he perceived a large silver spoon. A servant-maid came out, and began to abuse the pigs for crying so. "Well they may," said his lordship, "when they have got but one silver spoon among them all."


That there is falsehood in his looks
I must and will deny;
They say their master is a knave:
And sure they do not lie.


A country mayor being newly got into office, that he might be seen to do something in it, would persuade his brethren to have a new pair of gallows built; but one of the aldermen said, that they had an old pair which would serve well enough. "Yea," said the mayor, "the old ones shall be to hang strangers on, and the new pair for us and our heirs for ever."


During the riots of 1780, most persons in London, in order to save their houses from being burnt or pulled down, wrote on their doors, "No Popery!" Old Grimaldi,[Pg 293] the father of the celebrated "Joey," to avoid all mistakes, wrote on his, "No Religion!"


In an election for the borough of Tallagh, Councillor Egan, or "bully Egan," as he was familiarly called, being an unsuccessful candidate, appealed to a Committee of the House of Commons. It was in the heat of a very warm summer, and Egan (who was an immensely stout man) was struggling through the crowd, his handkerchief in one hand, his wig in the other, and his whole countenance raging like the dog-star, when he met Curran. "I'm sorry for you, my dear fellow," said Curran. "Sorry! why so, Jack, why so? I'm perfectly at my ease."—"Alas! Egan, it is but too visible that you're losing tallow (Tallagh) fast!"


"Harry, I cannot think," says Dick,
"What makes my ankles grow so thick."
"You do not recollect," says Harry,
"How great a calf they have to carry."


Erasmus, of whom Cambridge has a right to be not a little proud, was entreated by Lord Mountjoy to attack the errors of Luther. "My lord," answered Erasmus, "nothing is more easy than to say Luther is mistaken, and nothing more difficult than to prove him so."


Sheridan was once talking to a friend about the Prince Regent, who took great credit to himself for various public measures, as if they had been directed by his political skill, or foreseen by his political sagacity. "But," said Sheridan, "what his Royal Highness more particularly prides himself in, is the late excellent harvest."


The only practical joke in which Richard Harris Barham[Pg 294] (better known by his nom-de-plume of Thomas Ingoldsby) ever personally engaged, was enacted when he was a boy at Canterbury. In company with a schoolfellow, D——, now a gallant major, he entered a Quakers' meeting-house; when, looking round at the grave assembly, the latter held up a penny tart, and said solemnly, "Whoever speaks first shall have this pie."—"Go thy way, boy," said a drab-colored gentleman, rising; "go thy way, and——"—"The pie's yours, sir!" exclaimed D——, placing it before the astonished speaker, and hastily effecting his escape.


A gentleman of Trinity College, travelling through France, was annoyed at the slowness of the pace, and wishing to urge the postilion to greater speed, tried his bad French until he was out of patience. At last it occurred to him that, if he was not understood, he might at least frighten the fellow by using some high-sounding words, and he roared into the ear of the postilion: "Westmoreland, Cumberland, Northumberland, Durham!" which the fellow mistaking for some tremendous threat, had the desired effect, and induced him to increase his speed.


George the First was always reckoned
Vile,—but viler, George the Second;
And what mortal ever heard
Any good of George the Third?
When from earth the Fourth descended,
God be praised, the Georges ended.


Hopkins once lent Simpson, his next door neighbor, an umbrella, and having an urgent call to make on a wet day, knocked at Simpson's door. "I want my umbrella."—"Can't have it," said Simpson. "Why? I want to go to the East End, and it rains in torrents; what am I to do for an umbrella?"—"Do?" answered Simpson, passing through the door, "do as I did, borrow one!"[Pg 295]


Lord Althorp, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, having to propose to the House of Commons a vote of £400 a year for the salary of the Archdeacon of Bengal, was puzzled by a question from Mr. Hume, "What are the duties of an archdeacon?" So he sent one of the subordinate occupants of the Treasury Bench to the other House to obtain an answer to the question from one of the bishops. To Dr. Blomfield accordingly the messenger went, and repeated the question, "What is an archdeacon?"—"An archdeacon," replied the bishop, in his quick way, "an archdeacon is an ecclesiastical officer, who performs archidiaconal functions"; and with this reply Lord Althorp and the House were perfectly satisfied. It ought to be added, however, that when the story was repeated to the bishop himself, he said that he had no recollection of having made any such answer; but that if he had, it must have been suggested to him by a saying of old John White, a dentist, whom he had known in early days, who used to recommend the use of lavender-water to his patients, and when pressed for a reason for his recommendation, replied, "On account of its lavendric properties."


The City-feast inverted here we find,
For Pitt had his dessert before he dined.


The pious and learned martyr, and Bishop of Worcester, who was educated at Christ College, Cambridge, and was one of the first reformers of the Church of England, at a controversial conference, being out-talked by younger divines, and out-argued by those who were more studied in the fathers, said, "I cannot talk for my religion, but I am ready to die for it."


A braggart ran away from battle, and gave as a reason,[Pg 296] that a friend had written his epitaph, which had an excellent point in it, provided he attained the age of one hundred.


One of Mrs. Montague's blue-stocking ladies fastened upon Foote, at one of the routs in Portman Square, with her views of Locke "On the Understanding," which she protested she admired above all things; only there was one particular word, very often repeated, which she could not distinctly make out, and that was the word (pronouncing it very long) ide-a. "But I suppose," said she, "it comes from a Greek derivation."—"You are perfectly right, madam," said Foote; "it comes from the word ideaowski."—"And pray, sir, what does that mean?"—"It is the feminine of idiot, madam!"


For the Rector in vain through the parish you'll search,
But the Curate you'll find living hard by the church.


Sir Godfrey Kneller and Dr. Ratcliffe lived next door to each other, and were extremely intimate. Kneller had a very fine garden, and as the doctor was fond of flowers, he permitted him to have a door into it. Ratcliffe's servants gathering and destroying the flowers, Kneller sent to inform him that he would nail up the door; to which Ratcliffe, in his rough manner, replied, "Tell him, he may do anything but paint it."—"Well," replied Kneller, "he may say what he will, for tell him, I will take anything from him, except physic."


Mr. Douglas, son of the Bishop of Salisbury, was six feet two inches in height, and of enormous bulk. The little boys of Oxford always gathered about him when he went into the streets, to look up at his towering bulk. "Get out of my way, you little scamps," he used to cry,[Pg 297] "or I will roll upon you." It was upon this gentleman that Canning composed the following epigram:—

That the stones of our chapel are both black and white,
Is most undeniably true;
But, as Douglas walks o'er them both morning and night,
It's a wonder they're not black and blue.


Gibbon, the historian, was one day attending the trial of Warren Hastings in Westminster Hall, and Sheridan, having perceived him there, took occasion to mention "the luminous author of The Decline and Fall." After he had finished, one of his friends reproached him with flattering Gibbon. "Why, what did I say of him?" asked Sheridan. "You called him the luminous author."—"Luminous! Oh, I meant voluminous!"


Theodore Hook once observed a party of laborers sinking a well. "What are you about?" he inquired. "Boring for water, sir," was the answer. "Water's a bore at any time," responded Hook; "besides, you're quite wrong; remember the old proverb,—'Let well alone.'"


In reading his name it may truly be said,
You will make that man dy if you cut off his Hed.


Hook, in the supposed character of Gower-street undergraduate, says: "One problem was given me to work which I did in a twinkling. Given C A B to find Q. Answer: Take your C A B through Hammersmith, turn to the left just before you come to Brentford, and Kew is right before you."


An East-India Governor having died abroad, his body[Pg 298] was put in arrack, to preserve it for interment, in England. A sailor on board the ship being frequently drunk, the captain forbade the purser, and indeed all in the ship, to let him have any liquor. Shortly after the fellow appeared very drunk. How he obtained the liquor, no one could guess. The captain resolved to find out, promising to forgive him if he would tell from whom he got the liquor. After some hesitation, he hiccupped out, "Why, please your honor, I tapped the Governor."


Mathews once went to Wakefield, then, from commercial failures, in a dreadful state. In vain did he announce his inimitable "Youthful Days"; the Yorkshiremen came not. When he progressed to Edinburgh, a friend asked him if he made much money in Wakefield. "Not a shilling!" was the reply. "Not a shilling!" reiterated his astonished acquaintance. "Why, didn't you go there to star?"—"Yes," replied Mathews, with mirthful mournfulness; "but they spell it with a ve in Wakefield."


When Mr. Wilberforce was a candidate for Hull, his sister, an amiable and witty young lady, offered the compliment of a new gown to each of the wives of those freemen who voted for her brother, on which she was saluted with a cry of "Miss Wilberforce for ever!" when she pleasantly observed, "I thank you, gentlemen, but I can not agree with you; for really, I do not wish to be Miss Wilberforce for ever!"


Why should we explain, that the times are so bad,
Pursuing a querulous strain?
When Erin gives up all the rights that she had,
What right has she left to complain?
[Pg 299]


At the breaking up of a fashionable party at the west end of town, one of the company said he was about to "drop in" at Lady Blessington's; whereupon a young gentleman, a perfect stranger to the speaker, very modestly said, "O then, you can take me with you; I want very much to know her, and you can introduce me." While the other was standing aghast at the impudence of the proposal, and muttering something about being but a slight acquaintance himself, etc., Sydney Smith observed, "Pray oblige our young friend; you can do it easily enough by introducing him in a capacity very desirable at this close season of the year,—say you are bringing with you the cool of the evening."


When Messrs. Abbot and Egerton took the old Coburg Theatre for the purpose of bringing forward the legitimate drama, the former gentleman asked Hook if he could suggest a new name, the old being too much identified with blue fire and broadswords to suit the proposed change of performance. "Why," said Hook, "as you will of course butcher everything you attempt, suppose you call it Abbatoir."


Horace Walpole, on one occasion observed that there had existed the same indecision, irresolution, and want of system in the politics of Queen Anne, as at the time he spoke, under the reign of George the Third. "But," added he, "there is nothing new under the sun!"—"No," said George Selwyn, "nor under the grand-son!"


A well-fed rector was advising a poor starving laborer to trust to Providence, and be satisfied with his lot. "Ah!" replied the needy man, "I should be satisfied with his lot if I had it, but I can't get even a little."[Pg 300]


O dry that tear so round and big,
Nor waste in sighs your precious wind;
Death only takes a single pig
Your lord and son are still behind.


Mrs. Smith, hearing strange sounds, inquired of her new servant if she snored in her sleep. "I don't know, marm," replied Becky, quite innocently; "I never lay awake long enough to diskiver."


An affectionate Irishman once enlisted in the 75th Regiment, in order to be near his brother, who was a corporal in the 76th.


Mr. Moore having been long under a prosecution in Doctors' Commons, his proctor called on him one day whilst he was composing the tragedy of The Gamester. The proctor having sat down, he read him four acts of the piece, being all he had written; by which the man of law was so affected, that he exclaimed, "Good! good! can you add to this couple's distress in the last act?"—"O, very easily," said the poet, "I intend to put them into the Ecclesiastical Court."


"Taxes are equal is a dogma which
I'll prove at once," exclaimed a Tory boor;
"Taxation hardly presses on the rich,
And likewise presses hardly on the poor."


Sheridan being asked what wine he liked best, replied, "The wine of other people."[Pg 301]


A grand entertainment taking place at Belvoir Castle, on the occasion of the coming of age of the Marquis of Granby, the company were going out to see the fireworks, when Theodore Hook came in great tribulation to the Duke of Rutland, who was standing near Sir Robert Peel, and said: "Now isn't this provoking? I've lost my hat. What can I do?"—"Why did you part with your hat? I never do," said his Grace. "Ay!" rejoined Theodore, "but you have especial good reasons for sticking to your Beaver" (Belvoir).


A diminutive lawyer appearing as witness in one of the Courts, was asked by a gigantic counsellor what profession he was of; and having replied that he was an attorney,—"You a lawyer!" said Brief; "why I could put you in my pocket."—"Very likely you may," rejoined the other; "and if you do, you will have more law in your pocket than ever you had in your head."


At the Irish bar, Moran Mahaffy, Esq., was as much above the middle size as Mr. Collis was below it. When Lord Redesdale was Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Messrs. Mahaffy and Collis happened to be retained in the same case a short time after his lordship's elevation, and before he was acquainted personally with the Irish bar. Mr. Collis was opening the motion, when Lord R. observed, "Mr. Collis, when a barrister addresses the court, he must stand."—"I am standing on the bench, my lord," said Collis. "I beg a thousand pardons," replied his lordship, somewhat confused; "sit down, Mr. Mahaffy."—"I am sitting, my lord," was the reply to the confounded Chancellor.


The Rev. Mr. Johnston was one of those rough but quaint preachers of the former generation who were fond of visiting and good living. While seated at the table of[Pg 302] a good lady in a neighboring parish, she asked him if he took milk in his tea. "Yes, ma'am when I can't get cream," was the ready reply.


"Is my wife out of spirits?" said John with a sigh,
As her voice of a tempest gave warning.
"Quite out, sir, indeed," said her maid in reply,
"For she finished the bottle this morning."


Peter Macnally, an Irish attorney, was very lame, and, when walking, had an unfortunate limp, which he could not bear to be told of. At the time of the Rebellion he was seized with a military ardor, and when the different volunteer corps were forming in Dublin, that of the lawyers was organized. Meeting with Curran, Macnally said, "My dear friend, these are not times for a man to be idle; I am determined to enter the lawyers' corps, and follow the camp."—"You follow the camp, my little limb of the law!" said the wit; "tut, tut, renounce the idea; you never can be a disciplinarian."—"And why not, Mr. Curran?" said Macnally. "For this reason," said Curran; "the moment you were ordered to march, you would halt!"


A person deeply in debt, was walking through the streets in a melancholy way, when a friend asked him the cause of his sadness. "I owe money and cannot pay it," said the man, in a tone of extreme dejection. "Can't you leave all the uneasiness to your creditors?" replied the other. "Is it not enough that one should be sorry for what neither of you can help?"


A lady had a favorite lapdog, which she called Perchance. "A singular name," said somebody, "for a beautiful pet, madam. Where did you find it?"—"O," drawled she, "it was named from Byron's dog. You remember where he says, 'Perchance my dog will howl.'"[Pg 303]


On the approach of Holy Week, a great lady said to her friend, "We must, however, mortify ourselves a little."—"Well," replied the other, "let us make our servants fast."


A gentleman riding one day near Richmond, observed a house delightfully situated, and asking his companion to whom it belonged, was answered, "To a card-maker."—"Upon my life," he replied, "one would imagine all that man's cards must have been trumps."


The charity of Closefist give to fame,
He has at last subscribed—how much?—his name.


The play of "King Lear" being performed at Reading, the representative of Glo'ster was, on one occasion, taken ill, and another actor was found to take the part at a short notice. He got on famously as far as the scene where Glo'ster had his eyes put out, when he came to a stand still, and was obliged to beg permission to read the rest of the part.


Fuseli had a great dislike to common-place observations. After sitting perfectly quiet for a long time in his own room, during the "bald disjointed chat" of some idle visitors, who were gabbling with one another about the weather, and other topics of as interesting a nature, he suddenly exclaimed, "We had pork for dinner to-day."—"Dear me! Mr. Fuseli, what an odd remark."—"Why, it is as good as anything you have been saying for the last hour."


As Burke was declaiming with great animation against Hastings, he was interrupted by little Major Scott. "Am[Pg 304] I," said he, indignantly, "to be teased by the barking of this jackal while I am attacking the royal tiger of Bengal?"


A Spanish Archbishop having a dispute with an opulent duke, who said with scorn, "What are you? your title and revenues are only for your life," answered by asking, "And for how many lives does your Grace hold yours?"


When the Duke de Choiseul, who was a remarkably meagre-looking man, came to London to negotiate a peace, Charles Townshend, being asked whether the French government had sent the preliminaries of a treaty, answered, he did not know, but they had sent "the outline of an ambassador."


On Waterloo's ensanguined plain,
Full many a gallant man lies slain;
But none, by bullet or by shot,
Fell half so flat as Walter Scott.


The ugliest of trades have their moments of pleasure. Now, if I were a grave-digger, or even a hangman, there are some people I could work for with a great deal of enjoyment.—D.J.


An Irish gentleman parting with a lazy servant-woman, was asked, with respect to her industry, whether she was what is termed afraid of work. "O, not at all," said he; "not at all; she'll frequently lie down and fall asleep by the very side of it."


A keen sportsman, who kept harriers, was so vexed[Pg 305] when any noise was made while the hounds were at fault, that he rode up to a gentleman who accidentally coughed at such a time, and said, "I wish, with all my heart, sir, your cough was better."


When Lord Chesterfield was one day at Newcastle House, the Duke happening to be very particularly engaged, the Earl was requested to sit down in an ante-room. "Garnet upon Job," a book dedicated to the Duke, happened to lie in the window; and his Grace, on entering, found the Earl so busily engaged in reading, that he asked how he liked the commentary. "In any other place," replied Chesterfield, "I should not think much of it; but there is so much propriety in putting a volume upon patience in the room where every visitor has to wait for your Grace, that here it must be considered as one of the best books in the world."


Quest. Why is a pump like Viscount Castlereagh?
Ans.    Because it is a slender thing of wood,
That up and down its awkward arm doth sway,
And coolly shout, and spout, and spout away,
In one weak, washy, everlasting flood!


Archdeacon Paley was in very high spirits when he was presented to his first preferment in the Church. He attended at a visitation dinner just after this event, and during the entertainment called out jocosely, "Waiter, shut down that window at the back of my chair, and open another behind some curate."


"Sir," said a barber to an attorney who was passing his door, "will you tell me if this is a good half-sovereign?" The lawyer, pronouncing the piece good, deposited it in his pocket, adding, with gravity, "If you'll[Pg 306] send your lad to my office, I'll return the three and four-pence."


Edwin James, examining a witness, asked him what his business was. He answered, "A dealer in old iron."—"Then," said the counsel, "you must of course be a thief."—"I don't see," replied the witness, "why a dealer in iron must necessarily be a thief, more than a dealer in brass."


"Be less prolix," says Grill. I like advice.
"Grill, you're an ass!" Now, surely, that's concise.


Dean Swift was one day in company, when the conversation fell upon the antiquity of the family. The lady of the house expatiated a little too freely on her descent, observing that her ancestors' names began with De, and, of course, of antique French extraction. When she had finished; "And now," said the Dean, "will you be so kind as to help me to a piece of that D—umpling?"


An author once praised another writer very heartily to a third person. "It is very strange," was the reply, "that you speak so well of him, for he says that you are a charlatan."—"O," replied the other, "I think it very likely that both of us may be mistaken."


A mechanic his labor will often discard,
If the rate of his pay he dislikes:
But a clock—and its case is uncommonly hard—
Will continue to work though it strikes!


A youth had borrowed a hundred pounds of a very[Pg 307] rich friend, who had concluded that he should never see them again. He was mistaken, for the youth returned him the money. Some time after, the youth came again to borrow, but was refused. "No, sir," said his friend, "you shall not deceive me twice."


Some of the friends of a famous painter, observed to him, that they never heard him bestow any praises but on his worst paintings. "True," answered he; "for the best will always praise themselves."


Sydney Smith, writing in the Edinburgh Review, says, "If the English were in a paradise of spontaneous productions, they would continue to dig and plough, though they were never a peach or a pine-apple the better for it."


Taylor says, "My best pun was that which I made to Sheridan, who married a Miss Ogle." We were supping together at the Shakespeare, when, the conversation turning on Garrick, I asked him which of his performances he thought the best. "O," said he, "the Lear, the Lear."—"No wonder," said I, "you were fond of a Leer when you married an Ogle."


Ye politicians, tell me, pray,
Why thus with woe and care rent?
This is the worst that you can say,
Some wind has blown the wig away,
And left the Hair Apparent.


Mr. Wesley, during his voyage to America, hearing an unusual noise in the cabin of General Oglethorpe (the[Pg 308] Governor of Georgia, with whom he sailed), stepped in to inquire the cause of it, on which the General immediately addressed him: "Mr. Wesley, you must excuse me. I have met with a provocation too great for man to bear. You know the only wine I drink is Cyprus wine, as it agrees with me the best of any; and this villain Grimaldi (his foreign servant) has drunk up the whole I had on board. But I will be revenged of him. I have ordered him to be tied hand and foot, and to be carried to the man-of-war that sails with us. The rascal should have taken care how he used me, for I never forgive."—"Then I hope, sir," said John Wesley, looking calmly at him, "you never sin." The General was quite confounded at the reproof, and putting his hand into his pocket took out a bunch of keys, which he threw at Grimaldi, saying, "There, villain! Take my keys, and behave better for the future."


"I am unable," yonder beggar cries,
"To stand or move." If he says true, he lies.


Holland, who was a great favorite with Foote, died. While the funeral ceremony was performing, G. Garrick remarked to Foote: "You see what a snug family vault we have made here."—"Family vault!" said Foote, with tears trickling down his cheeks, "I thought it had been a family oven."


Hope is the dream of those who are awake.


A certain young clergyman, modest almost to bashfulness, was once asked by a country apothecary, of a contrary character, in a public and crowded assembly, and in a tone of voice sufficient to catch the attention of the whole company, "How it happened that the patriarchs lived to such extreme old age?" To which question the clergyman replied, "Perhaps they took no physic."[Pg 309]


Three conceited young wits, as they thought themselves, passing along the road near Oxford, met a grave old gentleman, with whom they had a mind to be rudely merry. "Good-morrow, father Abraham," said one; "Good-morrow, father Isaac," said the next; "Good-morrow, father Jacob," cried the last. "I am neither Abraham, Isaac, nor Jacob," replied the old gentleman, "but Saul, the son of Kish, who went out to seek his father's asses, and lo! here I have found them."


"Pray, does it always rain in this hanged place,
Enough to drive one mad, heaven knows?"
"No, please your grace,"
Cried Boniface,
With some grimace,
"Sometimes it snows."


A certain Chief Justice, on hearing an ass bray, interrupted the late Mr. Curran, in his speech to the jury, by saying, "One at a time, Mr. Curran, if you please." The speech being finished, the judge began his charge, and during its progress the ass sent forth the full force of its lungs; whereupon the advocate said, "Does not your lordship hear a remarkable echo in the court?"


The father of Mrs. Siddons had always forbidden her to marry an actor, and of course she chose a member of the old gentleman's company, whom she secretly wedded. When Roger Kemble heard of it he was furious. "Have I not," he exclaimed, "dared you to marry a player?" The lady replied, with downcast eyes, that she had not disobeyed. "What, madam! have you not allied yourself to about the worst performer in my company?"—"Exactly so," murmured the timid bride; "nobody can call him an actor."[Pg 310]


Franklin was once asked, "What is the use of your discovery of atmospheric electricity?" The philosopher answered the question by another, "What is the use of a new-born infant?"


A prosy orator reproved Lord North for going to sleep during one of his speeches. "Pooh, pooh!" said the drowsy Premier; "the physician should never quarrel with the effect of his own medicine."


Quoth Will, "On that young servant-maid
My heart its life-string stakes."
"Quite safe!" cries Dick, "don't be afraid,
She pays for all she breaks."


A painter, who was well acquainted with the dire effects of law, had to represent two men,—one who had gained a law-suit, and another who had lost one. He painted the former with a shirt on, and the latter naked.


An officer who commanded a regiment very ill-clothed, seeing a party of the enemy advancing, who appeared newly equipped, he said to his soldiers, in order to rally them on to glory, "There, my brave fellows, go and clothe yourselves."


The late Duke of York is reported to have once consulted Abernethy. During the time his highness was in the room, the doctor stood before him with his hands in his pockets, waiting to be addressed, and whistling with great coolness. The Duke, naturally astonished at his conduct, said, "I suppose you know who I am?"—"Suppose I do; what of that? If your Highness of York wishes to be[Pg 311] well, let me tell you," added the surgeon, "you must do as the Duke of Wellington often did in his campaigns, cut off the supplies, and the enemy will quickly leave the citadel."


The proverb says, and no one e'er disputes,
"Nature the shoulder to the burden suits";
Then nature gave to Saucemore with his head,
Shoulders to carry half a ton of lead.


A City policeman before Judge Maule said he was in the hens (N) division. "Do you mean in the Poultry?" asked the Judge.


Irish Johnstone, the comedian, was known to be rather parsimonious. On one of his professional visits to Dublin, he billeted himself (as was his wont) upon all his acquaintances in town. Meeting Curran afterwards in London, and talking of his great expenses, he asked the ex-Master of the Rolls what he supposed he spent in the Irish capital during his last trip. "I don't know," replied Curran; "but probably a fortnight."


Coleman, the dramatist, was asked if he knew Theodore Hook. "Yes," replied the wit; "Hook and eye are old associates."


"I wish you at the devil!" said somebody to Wilkes. "I don't wish you there," was the answer. "Why?"—"Because I never wish to see you again!"


During a siege the officer in command proposed to the grenadiers a large sum of money as a reward to him who[Pg 312] should first drive a fascine into a ditch which was exposed to the enemy's fire. None of the grenadiers offered. The general, astonished, began to reproach them for it. "We should have all offered," said one of these brave soldiers, "if money had not been set as the price of this action."


A gentleman asked a friend, in a very knowing manner, "Pray, did you ever see a cat-fish?"—"No," was the response, "but I've seen a rope-walk."


"Well, neighbor, what's the news this morning?" said a gentleman to a friend. "I have just bought a sack of flour for a poor woman."—"Just like you! Whom have you made so happy by your charity this time?"—"My wife."


That idiot W—— coming out of the Opera one night, called out, "Where is my fellow?"—"Not in England, I'll swear," said a bystander.


An officer of the navy being asked what Burke meant by the "Cheap defence of nations," replied, "A midshipman's half-pay,—nothing a-day and find yourself."


Died suddenly,—surprised at such a rarity!
Verdict,—Saw Eldon do a little bit of charity.


"Doctor, when we have sat together some time, you'll find my brother very entertaining."—"Sir," said Johnson, "I can wait."


"She is insupportable," said a wit with marked emphasis,[Pg 313] of one well known; but, as if he had gone too far, he added, "It is her only defect."


Smart waiter, be contented with thy state,
The world is his who best knows how to wait.


"The British empire, sir," exclaimed an orator, "is one on which the sun never sets."—"And one," replied an auditor, "in which the tax-gatherer never goes to bed."


What two ideas are more inseparable than Beer and Britannia? what event more awfully important to an English colony, than the erection of its first brewhouse?—S.S.


Some person caused the following inscription to be placed over the door of a house, "Let nothing enter here but what is good."—"Then where will the master go in?" asked a cynic.


Thy praise or dispraise is to me alike;
One doth not stroke me, nor the other strike.


An attorney, not celebrated for his probity, was robbed one night on his way from Wicklow to Dublin. His father meeting Baron O'Grady next day, said, "My lord, have you heard of my son's robbery?"—"No," replied the baron; "whom did he rob?"


An eminent counsellor asked another why he so often undertook bad causes. "Sir," answered the lawyer, "I have lost so many good ones, that I am quite at a loss which to take."[Pg 314]


Some persons can neither stir hand nor foot without making it clear they are thinking of themselves, and laying little traps for approbation.—S.S.


Burke said of Lord Thurlow, "He was a sturdy oak at Westminster, and a willow at St James's."


A scholar having fallen into the hands of robbers was fastened to a tree, and left so nearly a whole day, till one came and unloosed him. "Now," says he, "the old adage must be false, which saith that the tide tarrieth for no man."


A dramatic author once observed that he knew nothing so terrible as reading his piece before a critical audience. "I know but one more terrible," said Compton, the actor, "to be obliged to sit and hear it."


In Edinburgh resided a gentleman, who is as huge, though not so witty, as Falstaff. It is his custom when he travels to book two places, and thus secure half the inside to himself. He once sent his servant to book him to Glasgow. The man returned with the following pleasing intelligence: "I've booked you, sir; there weren't two inside places left, so I booked you one in and one out."


I shall not easily forget the sarcasm of Swift's simile as he told us of the Prince of Orange's harangue to the mob of Portsmouth. "We are come," said he, "for your good—for all your goods."—"A universal principle," added Swift, "of all governments; but, like most other truths, only told by mistake."[Pg 315]


Shield, while the supplicating poor
Ask thee for meat with piteous moans;
More humble I approach thy door,
And beg for nothing but thy bones.


The performers rallying Cooke one morning, in the green room, on the awkward cut of a new coat, he apologized, by saying, "It was his tailor's fault."—"Yes, poor man," said Munden, "and his misfortune too!"


A barrister who had retired from practice, said: "If any man was to claim the coat upon my back, and threaten my refusal with a lawsuit, he should certainly have it; lest, in defending my coat, I should, too late, find that I was deprived of my waistcoat also."


Hood says that, "A Quaker loves the ocean for its broad brim."


Dr. A——, when dangerously ill at an hotel, was applied to by the landlord to pass his bill. The doctor, observing that all the charges were very high, wrote at the bottom of the account, "If I die, I pass this account; if I live, I'll examine it."


To no one muse does she her glance confine,
But has an eye, at once, to all the nine.


A Welsh judge, celebrated as a suitor for all sorts of places and his neglect of personal cleanliness, was thus addressed by Mr. Jekyll: "As you have asked the Ministry[Pg 316] for everything else, ask them for a piece of soap and a nailbrush."


It requires (says Sydney Smith) a surgical operation to get a joke well into a Scotch understanding. Their only idea of wit, or rather that inferior variety of the electric talent which prevails occasionally in the North, and which, under the name of Wut, is so infinitely distressing to people of good taste, is laughing immoderately at stated intervals. They are so imbued with metaphysics that they even make love metaphysically. I overheard a young lady of my acquaintance, at a dance in Edinburgh, exclaim, in a sudden pause of the music, "What you say, my lord, is very true of love in the aibstract, but——" Here the fiddlers began fiddling furiously, and the rest was lost.


A lady, whose fondness for generous living had given her a flushed face and rubicund nose, consulted Dr. Cheyne. Upon surveying herself in the glass, she exclaimed, "Where in the name of wonder, doctor, did I get such a nose as this?"—"Out of the decanter, madam," replied the doctor.


Quin sometimes said a wise thing. Disputing concerning the execution of Charles I.,—"By what laws," said his opponent, "was he put to death?" Quin replied, "By all the laws that he had left them."


A gentleman was asked by Mrs. Woffington, what difference there was between her and her watch; to which he instantly replied, "Your watch, madam, makes us remember the hours, and you make us forget them."


To gull the public two contractors come,
One pilfers corn,—the other cheats in rum.
[Pg 317] Which is the greater knave, ye wits explain,
A rogue in spirit, or a rogue in grain?


A traveller, when asked whether, in his youth, he had gone through Euclid, was not quite sure, but he thought it was a small village between Wigan and Preston.


A Frenchman, who had learned English, wished to lose no opportunity of saying something pretty. One evening he observed to Lady R., whose dress was fawn color, and that of her daughter pink, "Milady, your daughter is de pink of beauty."—"Ah, monsieur, you Frenchmen always flatter."—"No, madam, I only do speak the truth, and what all de world will allow, that your daughter is de pink, and you are de drab of fashion."


A country gentleman, wishing to be civil to Dr. B——, a translator of Juvenal, said, "What particularly convinces me of the faithfulness of your translation is, that in places where I do not understand Juvenal, I likewise do not understand you."


A stranger to law courts hearing a judge call a sergeant "brother," expressed his surprise. "O," said one present, "they are brothers,—brothers-in-law."


The Earl of Lonsdale was so extensive a proprietor, and patron of boroughs, that he returned nine members to Parliament, who were facetiously called Lord Lonsdale's ninepins. One of the members thus designated, having made a very extravagant speech in the House of Commons, was answered by Mr. Burke in a vein of the happiest sarcasm, which elicited from the House loud and continued cheers. Mr. Fox, entering the House just as Mr. Burke was sitting down, inquired of Sheridan what the[Pg 318] House was cheering. "O, nothing of consequence," replied Sheridan, "only Burke has knocked down one of Lord Lonsdale's ninepins."


Son of the string (I do not mean Jack Ketch,
Though Jack, like thee, produceth dying tones),
Oh, yield thy pity to a starving wretch,
And for to-morrow's treat pray send thy bones!


One evening, at a private party at Oxford, at which Dr. Johnson was present, a recently published essay on the future life of brutes was referred to, and a gentleman, disposed to support the author's opinion that the lower animals have an "immortal part," familiarly remarked to the doctor, "Really, sir, when we see a very sensible dog, we don't know what to think of him." Johnson, turning quickly round, replied, "True, sir; and when we see a very foolish fellow, we don't know what to think of him."


In a duel between two attorneys, one of them shot away the skirt of the other's coat. His second, observing the truth of his aim, declared that had his friend been engaged with a client he would very probably have hit his pocket.


Sir Godfrey Kneller latterly painted more for profit than for praise, and is said to have used some whimsical preparations in his colors, which made them work fair and smoothly off, but not endure. A friend, noticing it to him, said, "What do you think posterity will say, Sir Godfrey Kneller, when they see these pictures some years hence?"—"Say!" replied the artist: "why, they'll say Sir Godfrey Kneller never painted them!"


A pompous fellow made a very inadequate offer for a[Pg 319] valuable property; and, calling the next day for an answer, inquired of the gentleman if he had entertained his proposition. "No," replied the other, "your proposition entertained me."


A phrenologist remarking that some persons had the organ of murder and benevolence strongly and equally developed, his friend replied, "that doubtless those were the persons who would kill one with kindness."


(On ——'s Veracity.)

He boasts about the truth I've heard,
And vows he'd never break it;
Why, zounds, a man must keep his word
When nobody will take it.


A lady having remarked in company that she thought there should be a tax on "the single state"; "Yes, madam," rejoined an obstinate old bachelor, "as on all other luxuries."


Soon after the Irish members were admitted into the House of Commons, on the union of the kingdom in 1801, one of them, in the middle of his maiden speech, thus addressed the chair: "And now, my dear Mr. Speaker," etc. This excited loud laughter. As soon as the mirth had subsided, Mr. Sheridan observed, "that the honorable member was perfectly in order; for, thanks to the ministers, now-a-days everything is dear."


A mad Quaker (wrote Sydney Smith) belongs to a small and rich sect; and is, therefore, of greater importance than any other mad person of the same degree in life.[Pg 320]


A chemist asserted that all bitter things were hot. "No," said a gentleman present, "there is a bitter cold day."


One day, at a party in Bath, Quin said something which caused a general murmur of delighted merriment. A nobleman present, who was not distinguished for the brilliancy of his ideas, exclaimed: "What a pity 'tis, Quin, my boy, that a clever fellow like you should be a player!" Quin, fixing and flashing his eyes upon the speaker, replied: "Why! what would your lordship have me be?—a lord?"


Soyer is gone! Then be it said,
At last, indeed, great Pan is dead.


Sergeant Prime had a remarkably long nose, and being one day out riding, was flung from his horse, and fell upon his face in the middle of the road. A countryman, who saw the occurrence, ran hastily up, raised the sergeant from the mire, and asked him if he was much hurt. The sergeant replied in the negative. "I zee, zur," said the rustic, grinning, "yer ploughshare saved ye!"


Sheridan was down at Brighton one summer, when Fox, the manager, desirous of showing him some civility, took him all over the theatre, and, exhibited its beauties. "There, Mr. Sheridan," said Fox, who combined twenty occupations, without being clever in any, "I built and painted all these boxes, and I painted all these scenes."—"Did you?" said Sheridan, surveying them rapidly; "well, I should not, I am sure, have known you were a Fox by your brush."[Pg 321]


There was a certain "Daft Will," who was a privileged haunter of Eglington Castle and grounds. He was discovered by the noble owner one day taking a near cut, and crossing a fence in the demesne. The earl called out, "Come back, sir, that's not the road."—"Do ye ken," said Will, "whaur I'm gaun?"—"No," replied his lordship. "Weel, hoo the deil do ye ken whether this be the road or no?"


"These beer-shops," quoth Barnabas, speaking in alt,
"Are ruinous,—down with the growers of malt!"
"Too true," answers Ben, with a shake of the head,
"Wherever they congregate, honesty's dead.
That beer breeds dishonesty causes no wonder,
'Tis nurtured in crime,—'tis concocted in plunder;
In Kent while surrounded by flourishing crops,
I saw a rogue picking a pocket of hops."


A wag, reading in one of Brigham Young's manifestoes, "that the great resources of Utah are her women," exclaimed, "It is very evident that the prophet is disposed to husband his resources."


A client remarked to his solicitor, "You are writing my bill on very rough paper, sir."—"Never mind," was the reply of the latter, "it has to be filed before it comes into court."


Curran, in cross-examining the chief witness of a plaintiff in an action for an assault, obliged him to acknowledge that the plaintiff had put his arm round the waist of Miss D——, which had provoked the defendant to strike him: "Then, sir, I presume," said Curran, "he took that waist for common?"[Pg 322]


Admiral Bridport, speaking of the threatened invasion by the French in 1798, dryly observed, "They might come as they could; for his own part, he could only say that they should not come by water."


One evening, a lady said to a small wit, "Come, Mr. ——, tell us a lively anecdote," and the poor fellow was mute during the remainder of the evening. "Favor me with your company on Wednesday evening, you are such a lion," said a weak party-giver to a young author. "I thank you," replied the wit; "but on that evening I am engaged to eat fire at the Countess of ——, and stand upon my head at Mrs. ——."


If fat men ride, they tire the horse,
And if they walk themselves—that's worse:
Travel at all, they are at best,
Either oppressors or opprest.


While an ignorant lecturer was describing the nature of gas, a blue-stocking lady inquired of a gentleman near her, what was the difference between oxygin and hydrogin? "Very little, madam," said he; "by oxygin we mean pure gin; and by hydrogin, gin and water."


Charles Lamb used to say, that he had a great dislike to monkeys, on the principle that "it was not pleasant to look upon one's poor relations."


Lord Macaulay, passing one day through the Seven Dials, bought a handful of ballads from some street-folks who were bawling out their contents to a gaping audience.[Pg 323] Proceeding on his way home, he was astonished to find himself followed by half a score of urchins, their faces beaming with expectation. "Now then, my lads, what is it?" said he. "O, that's a good 'un," replied one of the boys, "after we've come all this way."—"But what are you waiting for?" said the historian, astonished at the lad's familiarity. "Waiting for! why ain't you going to sing, guv'ner?"


A veteran Highlander, between whose family and that of a neighboring chieftain had existed a long hereditary feud, being on his death-bed, was reminded that this was the time to forgive all his enemies, even he who had most injured him. "Well, be it so," said the old Gael, after a short pause, "be it so; go tell Kinmare I forgive him,—but my curses rest upon my son if ever he does."


Whether tall men or short men are best,
Or bold men, or modest and shy men,
I can't say, but this I protest,
All the fair are in favor of Hy-men.


Quin was one day lamenting that he grew old, when a shallow impertinent young fellow said to him, "What would you give to be as young as I am?"—"By the powers," replied Quin, "I would even submit to be almost as foolish!"


Lord Byron was once asked by a friend in the green-room of the Drury Lane Theatre, whether he did not think Miss Kelly's acting in the "Maid and the Magpie" exceedingly natural. "I really am no judge," answered his lordship, "I was never innocent of stealing a spoon."


A loquacious author, after babbling some time about[Pg 324] his piece to Sheridan, said, "Sir, I fear I have been intruding on your attention."—"Not at all, I assure you," replied he, "I was thinking of something else."


A merchant being asked to define the meaning of experimental and natural philosophy, said he considered the first to be asking a man to discount a bill at a long date, and the second his refusing to do it.


A man very deeply in debt, being reprimanded by his friends for his disgraceful situation, and the anxiety of a debtor being urged by them in very strong expressions: "Ah!" said he, "that may be the case with a person who thinks of paying."


When Lord Holland was on his death-bed, his friend George Selwyn called to inquire how his Lordship was, and left his card. This was taken to Lord Holland, who said: "If Mr. Selwyn calls again, show him into my room. If I am alive, I shall be glad to see him; if I am dead, I am sure that he will be delighted to see me."


Henry Erskine happening to be retained for a client of the name of Tickle, began his speech in opening the case, thus: "Tickle, my client, the defendant, my lord,"—and upon proceeding so far was interrupted by laughter in court, which was increased when the judge (Lord Kaimes) exclaimed, "Tickle him yourself, Harry; you are as able to do so as I am."


Hood suggests that the phrase "republic of letters" was hit upon to insinuate that, taking the whole lot of authors together, they had not got a sovereign amongst them.[Pg 325]


A person meeting with an acquaintance after a long absence, told him that he was surprised to see him, for he had heard that he was dead. "But," says the other, "you find the report false."—"'Tis hard to determine," he replied, "for the man that told me was one whose word I would sooner take than yours."


A country gentleman, walking in his garden, saw his gardener asleep in an arbor. "What!" says the master, "asleep, you idle dog, you are not worthy that the sun should shine on you."—"I am truly sensible of my unworthiness," answered the man, "and therefore I laid myself down in the shade."


Curran having one day a violent argument with a country schoolmaster on some classical subject, the pedagogue, who had the worst of it, said, in a towering passion, that he would lose no more time, and must go back to his scholars. "Do, my dear doctor," said Curran, "but don't indorse my sins upon their backs."


A young gentleman, with a bad voice, preached a probation sermon for a very good lectureship in the city. A friend, when he came out of the pulpit, wished him joy, and said, "He would certainly carry the election, for he had nobody's voice against him but his own."


In the course of an examination for the degree of B.A. in the Senate House, Cambridge, under an examiner whose name was Payne, one of the questions was, "Give a definition of happiness." To which a candidate returned the following laconic answer: "An exemption from Payne."[Pg 326]


A Quaker (says Hood) makes a pleasure of his business, and then, for relaxation, makes a business of his pleasure.


A friend, crossing Putney Bridge with Theodore Hook, observed that he had been informed that it was a very good investment, and inquired "if such were the case?"—"I don't know," was the answer; "but you ought, as you have just been tolled."


An old gentleman accused his servant of having stolen his stick. The man protested perfect innocence. "Why, you know," rejoined his master, "that the stick could never have walked off with itself."—"Certainly not, sir, unless it was a walking-stick."


It is objected, and we admit often with truth, that the wealthy are ready to bestow their money, but not to endure personal inconvenience. The following anecdote is told in illustration: A late nobleman was walking in St. James's Street, in a hard frost, when he met an agent, who began to importune his Grace in behalf of some charity which had enjoyed his support. "Put me down for what you please," peevishly exclaimed the Duke; "but don't keep me in the cold."


"Do you believe in the apostolical succession?" inquired one of Sydney Smith. "I do," he replied: "and my faith in that dogma dates from the moment I became acquainted with the Bishop of ——, who is so like Judas."


No, Varus hates a thing that's base;
I own, indeed, he's got a knack
Of flattering people to their face,
But scorns to do 't behind their back.
[Pg 327]


Of a celebrated actress, who, in her declining days, bought charms of carmine and pearl-powder, Jerrold said, "Egad! she should have a hoop about her, with a notice upon it, 'Beware of the paint.'"


Two Oxonians dining together, one of them noticing a spot of grease on the neck-cloth of his companion, said, "I see you are a Grecian."—"Pooh!" said the other, "that is far-fetched."—"No, indeed," said the punster, "I made it on the spot."


In the famous trial of the Dean of Asaph, Mr. Erskine put a question to the jury, relative to the meaning of their verdict. Mr. Justice Buller objected to its propriety. The counsel reiterated his question, and demanded an answer. The judge again interposed his authority in these emphatic words: "Sit down, Mr. Erskine; know your duty, or I shall be obliged to make you know it." Mr. Erskine with equal warmth replied, "I know my duty as well as your lordship knows your duty. I stand here as the advocate of a fellow citizen, and I will not sit down." The judge was silent, and the advocate persisted in his question.


A fair devotee lamented to her confessor her love of gaming. "Ah! madam," replied the reverend gentleman, "it is a grievous sin;—in the first place consider the loss of time."—"That's just what I do," said she; "I always begrudge the time that is lost in shuffling and dealing."


To John I owed great obligation;
But John, unhappily, thought fit
To publish it to all the nation:
Sure John and I am more than quit.
[Pg 328]


James Smith one night took old Mr. Twiss to hear Mathews in his At Home, to the whole of which the mathematician gave devoted attention. At the close, Mr. Smith asked him whether he had not been surprised and pleased. "Both," replied Mr. Twiss, "but what does it all go to prove?"


General D—— was more distinguished for gallantry in the field than for the care he lavished upon his person. Complaining, on a certain occasion, to the late Chief-Justice Bushe, of Ireland, of the sufferings he endured from rheumatism, that learned and humorous judge undertook to prescribe a remedy. "You must desire your servant," he said to the general, "to place every morning by your bedside a tub three-parts filled with warm water. You will then get into the tub, and having previously provided yourself with a pound of yellow soap, you must rub your whole body with it, immersing yourself occasionally in the water, and at the end of a quarter of an hour, the process concludes by wiping yourself dry with towels, and scrubbing your person with a flesh-brush."—"Why," said the general, after reflecting for a minute or two, "this seems to be neither more nor less than washing one's self."—"Well, I must confess," rejoined the judge, "it is open to that objection."


(Upon the late Duke of Buckingham's moderate reform.)

For Buckingham to hope to pit
His bill against Lord Grey's is idle;
Reform, when offered bit by bit,
Is but intended for a bridle.


A gentleman leaving the company, somebody who sat next to Dr. Johnson asked who he was. "I cannot exactly tell you sir," replied the doctor, "and I should be[Pg 329] loath to speak ill of any person whom I do not know deserves it, but I am afraid he is an attorney."


Sydney Smith was annoyed one evening by the familiarity of a young gentleman, who, though a comparative stranger, was encouraged by Smith's jocular reputation to address him by his surname alone. Hearing the young man say that he was going that evening to see the Archbishop of Canterbury for the first time, the reverend wit interposed, "Pray don't clap him on the back, and call him Howley."


Lord North, who had a great antipathy to music, being asked why he did not subscribe to the Ancient Concerts, and it being urged as a reason for it that his brother the Bishop of Winchester did, "Ay," replied his lordship, "if I was as deaf as my brother, I would subscribe too."


A gentleman afflicted with rheumatism consulted a physician, who immediately wrote him a prescription. As the patient was going away the doctor called him back. "By the way, sir, should my prescription happen to afford you any relief, please to let me know, as I am myself suffering from a similar affection, and have tried in vain to cure it."


Lady Carteret, wife of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, in Swift's time, one day said to the wit, "The air of this country is very good."—"Don't say so in England, my lady," quickly replied the dean, "for if you do they will certainly tax it."


"What's fashionable, I'll maintain
Is always right," cries sprightly Jane;
"Ah! would to Heaven," cries graver Sue,
"What's right were fashionable too."
[Pg 330]


A gentleman, who was dining with another, praised the meat very much, and inquired who was his butcher. "His name is Addison."—"Addison!" echoed the guest; "pray is he any relation to the poet?"—"I can't say: but this I know, he is seldom without his Steel by his side."


A traveller coming up to an inn door, said: "Pray, friend, are you the master of this house?"—"Yes, sir," answered Boniface, "my wife has been dead these three weeks."


Lord John Russell, remarkable for the smallness of his person as Lord Nugent was for the reverse, was expected at a house where Sydney Smith was a guest. "Lord John comes here to-day," said Sydney Smith, "his corporeal anti-part, Lord Nugent, is already here. Heaven send he may not swallow John! There are, however, stomach-pumps in case of accident."


A very dull man, after dinner, had been boring the company with a long discourse, in the course of which he had given utterance to ethical views as old as the hills, as though he had just discovered them. When he had done repeating his truisms, Charles Lamb gravely said: "Then, sir, you are actually prepared to maintain that a thief is not altogether a moral man."


(Said to be written by Peter Pindar.)

They say, O'Keefe,
Thou art a thief,
That half thy works are stolen or more;
I say O'Keefe,
Thou art no thief,
Such stuff was never writ before!
[Pg 331]


A young lawyer who had been "admitted" about a year, was asked by a friend, "How do you like your new profession?" The reply was accompanied by a brief sigh to suit the occasion: "My profession is much better than my practice."


Mr. Reynolds, the dramatist, once met a free and easy actor, who told him that he had passed three festive days at the seat of the Marquis and Marchioness of ——, without any invitation. He had gone there on the assumption that as my lord and lady were not on speaking terms, each would suppose the other had asked him, and so it turned out.


Judge Clayton was an honest man, but not a profound lawyer. Soon after he was raised to the Irish bench, he happened to dine in company with Counsellor Harwood, celebrated for his fine brogue, his humor, and his legal knowledge. Clayton began to make some observations on the Laws of Ireland. "In my country" (England), said he, "the laws are numerous, but then one is always found to be a key to the other. In Ireland it is just the contrary; your laws so perpetually clash with one another, and are so very contradictory, that I protest I don't understand them."—"True, my lord," cried Harwood, "that is what we all say."


Samuel Taylor Coleridge was so bad a horseman, that when mounted he generally attracted unfavorable notice. On a certain occasion he was riding along a turnpike road, in the county of Durham, when he was met by a wag, who, mistaking his man, thought the rider a good subject for sport. "I say, young man," cried the rustic, "did you see a tailor on the road?"—"Yes, I did; and he told me that, if I went a little further, I should meet a goose."[Pg 332]


The editor of the Evangelical Observer, in reference to a certain person, took occasion to write that he was rectus in ecclesia, i.e., in good standing in the church. The compositor, in the editor's absence, converted it into rectus in culina, which although not very bad Latin, altered the sense very materially, giving the reverend gentleman a good standing in the kitchen.


(Upon the trustworthiness of —— ——.)

He'll keep a secret well, or I'm deceived,
For what he says will never be believed.


When ladies wore their dresses very low and very short, a wit observed that "they began too late and ended too soon."


A gentleman gave a friend some first-rate wine, which he tasted and drank, making no remark upon it. The owner, disgusted at his guest's want of appreciation, next offered some strong but inferior wine, which the guest had no sooner tasted than he exclaimed that it was excellent wine. "But you said nothing of the first" remarked his host "O," replied the other, "the first required nothing being said of it. It spoke for itself. I thought the second wanted a trumpeter."


A judge, joking a young barrister, said, "If you and I were turned into a horse and an ass, which would you prefer to be?"—"The ass, to be sure," replied the barrister. "I've heard of an ass being made a judge, but a horse never."


At an hotel at Brighton, Douglas Jerrold was dining[Pg 333] with two friends, one of whom, after dinner, ordered "a bottle of old port."—"Waiter," added Jerrold, with a significant twinkle of his eye, "mind now; a bottle of your old port, not your elder port."


When Dr. H. and Sergeant A. were walking arm-in-arm, a wag said to a friend, "These two are just equal to one highwayman."—"Why?" was the response. "Because it is a lawyer and a doctor—your money or your life."


"A part," says Euclid, "one at once may see,
Unto the whole can never equal be";
Yet W——'s speeches can this fact control,
Of them a part is equal to the whole.


Burke once mentioned to Fox that he had written a tragedy. "Did you let Garrick see it?" inquired his friend: "No," replied Burke; "though I had the folly to write it, I had the wit to keep it to myself."


Dr. Maginn dining with a friend on ham and chicken, addressed Sukey Boyle, his friend's housekeeper, thus: "You know, Boyle, what old Ovid, in his 'Art of Love' (book iii.), says; I give you the same wish:—

"'Semper tibi pendeat hamus,'

May you always have a ham hanging in your kitchen." The doctor insisted that tea was well known to the Romans, "for," said he, "even in the time of Plautus it was a favorite beverage with the ladies,—

"'Amant te omnes mulieres.'"
Miles Glor., Act i., sc. i., v. 58.

Observing Sukey Boyle, he said to his friend, "Ah! John, I see you follow the old advice we both learned at school,[Pg 334] [Greek: Charizou tê Psychê], 'Indulge yourself with Sukey.'" There was some hock at dinner, which he thus eulogized:—

"'Hoc tum sævas paulatim mitigat iras,
Hoc minuit luctus mœstaque corda levat.'"
Ov. Trist., lib. iv., el. vi., v. 15, 16.


One of the Kembles made his first appearance on the stage as an opera singer. His voice was, however, so bad, that at a rehearsal the conductor of the orchestra called out, "Mr. Kemble! Mr. Kemble! you are murdering the music!"—"My dear sir," was the quiet rejoinder, "it is far better to murder it outright, than to keep on beating it as you do."


Some one jocularly observed to the Marquis Wellesley, that, in his arrangements of the ministry, his brother, the Duke, had thrown him overboard. "Yes," said the Marquis; "but I trust I have strength enough to swim to the other side."


One asked his friend, why he married so little a wife? "Why," said he, "I thought you knew, that of all evils we should choose the least."


A laborer's daughter, who had been in service from her childhood, would frequently wish to be married, that, as she expressed herself, she might rest her bones. Some time afterwards she got married, and her late mistress meeting her, asked her, "Well, Mary, have you rested your bones yet?"—"Yes, indeed," replied she, with a sigh, "I have rested my jaw-bones."


A chartist at a public meeting, in the course of a speech about the "five points" of the charter, exclaimed, "Gentlemen, is not one man as good as another?"—"Uv[Pg 335] course he is," shouted an excited Irish chartist, "and a great deal betther."


"My dart," cried Death, "I cannot find,
So now I'm quite at sea."
Quoth Dr. Bolus, "Never mind,—
There, take this recipe."


A well-dressed fellow walked into a room where they were talking politics, and, stretching himself up to his full height, exclaimed, in a loud voice, "Where is a radical? Show me a radical, gentlemen, and I'll show you a liar!" In an instant a man exclaimed, "I am a radical, sir!"—"You are?"—"Yes, sir, I am!"—"Well, just you step round the corner with me, and I'll show you a fellow who said I couldn't find a radical in the ward. Ain't he a liar, I should like to know?"


Curran, in describing a speech made by Sergeant Hewitt, said: "My learned friend's speech put me exactly in mind of a familiar utensil in domestic use, commonly called an extinguisher. It began at a point, and on it went widening and widening, until at last it fairly put the question out altogether."


A friend of Sydney Smith inquired, "What is Puseyism!" To which the witty canon replied: "Puseyism, sir, is inflexion and genuflexion; posture and imposture; bowing to the east, and curtseying to the west."


Brougham, speaking of the salary attached to a new judgeship, said it was all moonshine. Lyndhurst, in his dry and waggish way, remarked, "May be so, my Lord Harry; but I have a strong notion that, moonshine though it be, you would like to see the first quarter of it."[Pg 336]


When at the head of our most gracious king,
Disloyal Collins did his pebble fling,—
"Why choose," with tears the injured monarch said,
"So hard a stone to break so soft a head?"


Lord Grey complains that he cannot succeed in pleasing any party. He should follow the example of duellists, and by going out he would certainly give satisfaction.


An actor named Priest was playing at one of the principal theatres. Some one remarked to the Garrick Club that there were a great many men in the pit. "Probably clerks who have taken Priest's orders," said Mr. Poole, one of the best punsters as well as one of the cleverest comic satirists of the day.


After a very violent speech from an opposition member, Mr. Burke started suddenly from his seat, and rushed to the ministerial side of the house, exclaiming with much vehemence, "I quit the camp! I quit the camp!"—"I hope," said Mr. Sheridan, "as the honorable gentleman has quitted the camp as a deserter, he will not return as a spy."


A Cambridge tutor said to his pupil, "If you go over to Newmarket, beware of betting, for in nine cases out of ten it brings a man to ruin."—"Sir," said the youth, "I must really differ from you; so far from ever being the worse for it, I have invariably been the better."


When Curran was cross-examining Lundy Foot, the celebrated Irish tobacconist, he put a question at which Lundy hesitated a great deal: "Lundy," exclaimed Curran, "that's a poser,—a deuse of a pinch, Lundy!"[Pg 337]


An eminent painter, who had suffered, under the common malady of his profession, namely, to paint portraits for persons who neither paid for them nor took them away, sent word to an ugly customer who refused to pay, that he was in treaty for the picture with the landlord of the "Saracen's Head." It was paid for immediately.


To hear Dash by the hour blunder forth his vile prose,
Job himself scarcely patience could keep;
He's so dull that each moment we're ready to doze,
Yet so noisy we can't go to sleep.


An Irish post-boy having driven a gentleman a long stage during torrents of rain, was asked if he was not very wet? "Arrah! I wouldn't care about being very wet, if I wasn't so very dry, your honor."


The beautiful Lady Coventry was exhibiting to Selwyn a splendid new dress, covered with large silver spangles, the size of a shilling, and inquired of him whether he admired her taste. "Why," he said, "you will be change for a guinea."


A little boy one day came running home, and said, "O father, I've just seen the blackest man that ever was!"—"How black was he, my son?"—"O, he was as black as black can be! why, father, charcoal would make a white mark on him!"


Harry Woodward, walking with a friend, met a most miserable object, who earnestly solicited their charity. On Woodward giving a few pence, his friend said, "I believe that fellow is an impostor."—"He is either the[Pg 338] most distressed man, or the best actor, I ever saw in my life," replied the comedian: "and, as either one or the other, he has a brotherly claim upon me."


A poet was once walking with T——, in the street, reciting some of his verses. T—— perceiving, at a short distance, a man yawning, pointed him out to the poet, saying, "Not so loud, he hears you."


A gentleman from Ireland, on entering a London tavern, saw a countryman of his, a Tipperary squire, sitting over his pint of wine in the coffee-room. "My dear fellow," said he, "what are you about? For the honor of Tipperary, don't be after sitting over a pint of wine in a house like this!"—"Make yourself aisy, countryman," was the reply, "It's the seventh I have had, and every one in the room knows it."


Barham having sent his friend, Sydney Smith, a brace of pheasants, the present was acknowledged in the following characteristic epistle: "Many thanks, my dear sir, for your kind present of game. If there is a pure and elevated pleasure in this world, it is that of roast pheasant and bread sauce; barn-door fowls for dissenters, but for the real churchman, the thirty-nine times articled clerk, the pheasant, the pheasant.—Ever yours, S.S."


Thomson, the author of the "Seasons," was wonderfully indolent. A friend entered his room, and finding him in bed, although the day was far spent, asked him why he did not get up. "Man, I hae nae motive," replied the poet.


The surgeon of an English ship of war used to prescribe salt water for his patients in all disorders. Having sailed[Pg 339] one evening on a party of pleasure, he happened by some mischance to be drowned. The captain, who had not heard of the disaster, asked one of the tars next day if he had heard anything of the doctor. "Yes," answered Jack: "he was drowned last night in his own medicine chest."


Admiral Lee, when only a post captain, being on board his ship one very rainy and stormy night, the officer of the watch came down to his cabin and cried, "Sir, the sheet-anchor is coming home."—"Indeed," says the captain, "I think the sheet-anchor is perfectly in the right of it. I don't know what would stay out such a stormy night as this."


"I'm very much surprised," quoth Harry,
"That Jane a gambler should marry."
"I'm not at all," her sister says,
"You know he has such winning ways!"


Theodore Hook was relating to his friend, Charles Mathews, how, on one occasion, when supping in the company of Peake, the latter surreptitiously removed from his plate several slices of tongue; and, affecting to be very much annoyed by such practical joking, Hook concluded with the question, "Now, Charles, what would you do to anybody who treated you in such a manner?"—"Do?" exclaimed Mathews, "if any man meddled with my tongue, I'd lick him!"


A landed proprietor in the small county of Rutland became very intimate with the Duke of Argyle, to whom, in the plenitude of his friendship, he said: "How I wish your estate were in my county!" Upon which the duke replied: "I'm thinking, if it were, there would be no room for yours."[Pg 340]


At one of the annual dinners of the members of the Chapel Royal, a gentleman had been plaguing Edward Cannon with a somewhat dry disquisition on the noble art of fencing. Cannon for some time endured it with patience; but at length, on the man remarking that Sir George D—— was a great fencer, Cannon, who disliked him, replied, "I don't know, sir, whether Sir George is a great fencer, but Sir George is a great fool!" A little startled, the other rejoined, "Possibly he is; but then, you know, a man may be both."—"So I see, sir," said Cannon, turning away.


While Butler, needy wretch, was yet alive,
No generous patron would a dinner give.
See him, when starved to death and turned to dust,
Presented with a monumental bust.
The poet's fate is here in emblem shown,—
He asked for bread, and he received a stone.


Mrs. Powell the actress was at a court of assize when a young barrister, who rose to make his maiden speech, suddenly stopped short and could not proceed. The lady, feeling for his situation, cried out, as though he had been a young actor on his first appearance, "Somebody give him the word,—somebody give him the word!"


Porson was once disputing with an acquaintance, who, getting the worst of it, said, "Professor, my opinion of you is most contemptible."—"Sir," returned the great Grecian, "I never knew an opinion of yours that was not contemptible."


One of the curiosities some time since shown at a public exhibition, professed to be a skull of Oliver Cromwell.[Pg 341] A gentleman present observed that it could not be Cromwell's, as he had a very large head, and this was a small skull. "O, I know all that," said the exhibitor, undisturbed, "but you see this was his skull when he was a boy."


A Cantab, one day observing a ragamuffin-looking boy scratching his head at the door of Alderman Purchase, in Cambridge, where he was begging, and thinking to pass a joke upon him, said, "So, Jack, you are picking them out, are you?"—"Nah, sar," retorted the urchin; "I takes 'em as they come!"


The late Earl Dudley wound up an eloquent tribute to the virtues of a deceased Baron of the Exchequer with this pithy peroration: "He was a good man, an excellent man. He had the best melted butter I ever tasted in my life."


Epigram on the occasion of the duel between Tom Moore, the poet, and Francis Jeffrey:—

When Anacreon would fight, as the poets have said,
A reverse he displayed in his vapor,
For while all his poems were loaded with lead,
His pistols were loaded with paper.
For excuses, Anacreon old custom may thank,
Such a salvo he should not abuse;
For the cartridge, by rule, is always made blank,
Which is fired away at Reviews.


The Duke of Wellington having had his windows broken by the mob, continued to have boards before the windows of his house in Piccadilly. "Strange that the Duke will not renounce his political errors," said A'Beckett, "seeing that no pains have been spared to convince him of them."[Pg 342]


There was in Wilkes's time a worthy person, who had risen from the condition of a bricklayer to be an alderman of London. Among other of his early habits, the civic dignitary retained that of eating everything with his fingers. One day a choice bit of turbot having repeatedly escaped from his grasp, Wilkes, who witnessed the dilemma, whispered, "My lord, you had better take your trowel to it."


During the representation of "Macbeth," an eminent special pleader graced the boxes of Drury Lane Theatre, to see it performed. When the hero questions the Witches, as to what they are doing: they answer, "a deed without a name." Our counsellor, whose attention was at that moment directed more to Coke upon Littleton than to Shakespeare, catching, however, the words in the play, repeated, "A deed without a name! why, 't is void."


The following lines were addressed to a gentleman notoriously addicted to the vice which has been euphemistically described as "the postponement of the truth for the purposes of the moment":—

Whoe'er would learn a fact from you,
Must take you by contraries;
What you deny, perhaps is true;
But nothing that you swear is.


An Irishman was once brought up before a magistrate, charged with marrying six wives. The magistrate asked him how he could be so hardened a villain? "Please your worship," says Paddy, "I was just trying to get a good one."


The conversation at Holland House turning on first love, Thomas Moore compared it to a potato, "because it[Pg 343] shoots from the eyes."—"Or rather," exclaimed Lord Byron, "because it becomes less by pairing."


An acquaintance remarked to Dr. Robert South, the celebrated preacher at the court of Charles the Second, "Ah! doctor, you are such a wit!" The doctor replied, "Don't make game of people's infirmities: you, sir, might have been born a wit!"


Sir Joseph Jekyll wrote the following impromptu, on observing a certain sergeant, well known for his prosiness, bustling into the Court of King's Bench, where he was engaged in a case:—

Behold the sergeant full of fire,
Long shall his hearers rue it;
His purple garments came from Tyre,
His arguments go to it.


Mr. Dale, who it would appear was a short stout man, had a person in his employment named Matthew, who was permitted that familiarity with his master which was so characteristic of the former generation. One winter day, Mr. Dale came into the counting-house, and complained that he had fallen on the ice. Matthew, who saw that his master was not much hurt, grinned a sarcastic smile. "I fell all my length," said Mr. Dale. "Nae great length, sir," said Matthew. "Indeed, Matthew, ye need not laugh," said Mr. Dale, "I have hurt the sma' of my back."—"I wunner whaur that is," said Matthew.


"Mr. Brown, I owe you a grudge, remember that!"—"I shall not be frightened then, for I never knew you to pay anything that you owe."


"Pray, my lord," asked a fashionable lady of Lord[Pg 344] Kenyon, "what do you think my son had better do in order to succeed in the law?"—"Let him spend all his money: marry a rich wife, and spend all hers: and when he has not got a shilling in the world, let him attack the law." Such was the advice of an old Chief Justice.


It is too true that there are many patriots, who, while they bleat about the "cause of liberty," act in so interested a manner that they are evidently looking more after the effects.


When the British ships under Lord Nelson were bearing down to attack the combined fleet off Trafalgar, the first lieutenant of the "Revenge," on going round to see that all hands were at quarters, observed one of the men,—an Irishman,—devoutly kneeling at the side of his gun. So very unusual an attitude exciting his surprise and curiosity he asked the man if he was afraid. "Afraid," answered the tar, "no, your honor; I was only praying that the enemy's shot may be distributed in the same proportion as the prize-money,—the greatest part among the officers."


When we heard —— say a thing of some acidity the other night in the House of Commons, the honorable member reminded us of a calf's head with a lemon in it.—G. A'B.


A namesake of Charles Fox having been hung at Tyburn, the latter inquired of George Selwyn whether he had attended the execution? "No," was his reply, "I make a point of never attending rehearsals!"


Vane's speeches to an hour-glass,
Do some resemblance show;
Because the longer time they run,
The shallower they grow!
[Pg 345]


Rowland Hill rode a great deal, and exercise preserved him in vigorous health. On one occasion, when asked by a medical friend what physician and apothecary he employed, to be always so well, he replied, "My physician has always been a horse, and my apothecary an ass!"


A Roman Catholic prelate requested Pugin, the architect, to furnish designs, etc., for a new church. It was to be "very large, very handsome, and very cheap"; the parties purposing to erect being "very poor; in fact, having only £——."—"Say thirty shillings more," replied the astonished architect, "and have a tower and spire at once!"


A beggar in Dublin had been long besieging an old, gouty, testy gentleman, who roughly refused to relieve him. The mendicant civilly replied, "I wish your honor's heart was as tender as your toes."


A nation grown free in a single day is a child born with the limbs and the vigor of a man, who would take a drawn sword for his rattle, and set the house in a blaze, that he might chuckle over the splendor.—S.S.


Thy flattering picture, Phryne, 's like to thee
Only in this, that you both painted be.


A lady having put to Canning the silly question, "Why have they made the spaces in the iron gate at Spring Gardens so narrow?" he replied, "O, ma'am, because such very fat people used to go through" (a reply concerning which Tom Moore remarked that "the person who does not relish it can have no perception of real wit").[Pg 346]


Lord Plunkett had a son in the Church at the time the Tithe Corporation Act was passed, and warmly supported the measure. Some one observed, "I wonder how it is that so sensible a man as Plunkett cannot see the imperfections in the Tithe Corporation Act!"—"Pooh! pooh!" said Norbury, "the reason's plain enough; he has the sun (son) in his eye."


An Englishman paying an Irish shoeblack with rudeness, the "dirty urchin" said, "My honey, all the polish you have is upon your boots and I gave you that."


On the formation of the Grenville administration, Bushe, who had the reputation of a waverer, apologized one day for his absence from court, on the ground that he was cabinet-making. The chancellor maliciously disclosed the excuse on his return. "O, indeed, my lord, that is an occupation in which my friend would distance me, as I was never a turner or a joiner."


A conceited coxcomb, with a very patronizing air, called out to an Irish laborer, "Here, you bogtrotter, come and tell me the greatest lie you can, and I'll treat you to a jug of whiskey-punch."—"By my word," said Pat, "an' yer honor's a gintleman!"


They cannot be complete in aught
Who are not humorously prone;
A man without a merry thought
Can hardly have a funny bone.


Hook one day walking in the Strand with a friend, had his attention directed to a very pompous gentleman, who[Pg 347] strutted along as if the street were his own. Instantly leaving his companion, Hook went up to the stranger and said, "I beg your pardon sir, but pray may I ask,—are you anybody in particular?" Before the astonished magnifico could collect himself so as to reply practically or otherwise to the query, Hook had passed on.


A schoolmaster said of himself: "I am like a hone, I sharpen a number of blades, but I wear myself in doing it."


Judge Jeffreys, of notorious memory (pointing with his cane to a man who was about to be tried), said, "There is a great rogue at the end of my cane." The man pointed at, inquired, "At which end, my lord?"


A gentleman one day observed to Henry Erskine, that punning was the lowest of wit. "It is," answered Erskine, "and therefore the foundation of all wit."


Lord North's good humor and readiness were of admirable service to him when the invectives of his opponents would have discomforted a graver minister. He frequently indulged in a real or seeming slumber. On one occasion, an opposition debater, supposing him to be napping, exclaimed, "Even now, in these perils, the noble lord is asleep!"—"I wish I was," suddenly interposed the weary minister.


Begot by butchers, but by bishops bred,
How high his honor holds his haughty head!


"How do you find yourself to-day," said an old friend to Jack Reeve, as he met him going in dinner costume to[Pg 348] the city. "Thank you," he replied, "the Lord Mayor finds me to-day."


Sheridan, being on a parliamentary committee, one day entered the room as all the members were seated and ready to commence business. Perceiving no empty seat, he bowed, and looking round the table with a droll expression of countenance, said: "Will any gentleman move that I may take the chair?"


A man with a scolding wife, being asked what his occupation was, replied that he kept a hot-house.


A lady, who was very submissive and modest before marriage, was observed by a friend to use her tongue pretty freely after. "There was a time," he remarked, "when I almost imagined she had no tongue."—"Yes," said the husband, with a sigh, "but it's very very long since!"


When Sir Thomas More was brought a prisoner to the Tower, the lieutenant, who had formerly received many favors from him, offered him "suche poore cheere" as he had; to which the ex-chancellor replied, "Assure yourself, master lieutenant, I do not mislike my cheer; but whensoever so I do, then thrust me out of your doors."


If two decided negatives will make
Together one affirmative, let's take
P——t's and L——t's, each a rogue per se,
Who by this rule an honest pair will be.


A gentleman going to take water at Whitehall stairs,[Pg 349] cried out, as he came near the place, "Who can swim?"—"I, master," said forty bawling mouths; when the gentleman observing one slinking away, called after him; but the fellow turning about, said, "Sir, I cannot swim,"—"Then you are my man," said the gentleman, "for you will at least take care of me for your own sake."


A Scottish minister being one day engaged in visiting some members of his flock, came to the door of a house where his gentle tapping could not be heard for the noise of contention within. After waiting a little he opened the door and walked in, saying, with an authoritative voice, "I should like to know who is the head of this house?"—"Weel, sir," said the husband and father, "if ye sit doon a wee, we'll maybe be able to tell ye, for we're just trying to settle that point."


Curran was just rising to cross-examine a witness before a judge who was familiar with the dry-as-dust black-letter law books, but could never comprehend a jest, when the witness began to laugh before the learned counsel had asked him a question. "What are you laughing at, friend," said Curran, "what are you laughing at? Let me tell you that a laugh without a joke is like—is like—"—"Like what, Mr. Curran," asked the judge, imagining he was at fault. "Just exactly, my lord, like a contingent remainder without any particular estate to support it."


On the departure of Bishop Selwyn for his diocese, New Zealand, Sydney Smith, when taking his leave of him, said: "Good by, my dear Selwyn; I hope you will not disagree with the man who eats you!"


"My dear, what makes you always yawn?"
The wife exclaimed, her temper gone,
"Is home so dull and dreary?"
[Pg 350] "Not so, my love," he said, "Not so;
But man and wife are one, you know;
And when alone I'm weary!"


Curran, conversing with Sir Thomas Turton, happened to remark that he could never speak in public for a quarter of an hour without moistening his lips; to which Sir Thomas replied that, in that respect, he had the advantage of him: "I spoke," said he, "the other night in the House of Commons for five hours, on the Nabob of Oude, and never felt in the least thirsty."—"It is very remarkable indeed" rejoined Curran, "for every one agrees that was the driest speech of the session."


As for the brandy, "nothing extenuate,"—and the water, "put naught in, in malice."


Curran, speaking of his loss of business in the Court of Chancery caused by Lord Clare's hostility to him, and of the consequent necessity of resuming nisi prius business, said: "I had been under full sail to fortune; but the tempest came, and nearly wrecked me, and ever since I have been only bearing up under jury-masts."


Lord Alvanley, after his duel with young O'Connell, gave a guinea to the hackney-coachman who had driven him to and from the scene of the encounter. The man, surprised at the largeness of the sum, said, "My Lord, I only took you to—" Alvanley interrupted him with, "My friend, the guinea is for bringing me back, not for taking me out."


A dying miser sent for his solicitor, and said, "Now begin, and I will dictate particulars."—"I give and I bequeath,"[Pg 351] commenced the man of law. "No, no," interrupted the testator; "I do nothing of the kind; I will never give or bequeath anything: I cannot do it."—"Well, then," suggested the attorney, after some consideration, "suppose you say, 'I lend, until the last day?'"—"Yes, yes, that will do," eagerly rejoined the miser.


Who seeks to please all men each way,
And not himself offend,
He may begin his work to-day,
But who knows when he'll end?


Miss Kelly standing one day in the street, enjoying the vagaries of punch with the rest of the crowd, the showman came up to her and solicited a contribution. She was not very ready in answering the demand, when the fellow, taking care to make her understand that he knew who she was, exclaimed, "Ah! it's all over with the drama, if we don't encourage one another."


Quin, being asked by a lady why there were more women in the world than men, replied, "It is in conformity with the other arrangements of Nature, madam; we always see more of heaven than earth."


One morning a pompous little man called upon Sydney Smith, saying that, being about to compile a history of distinguished families in Somersetshire, he had called to obtain the Smith arms. "I regret, sir," said the reverend wit, "not to be able to contribute to so valuable a work; but the Smiths never had any arms, and have invariably sealed their letters with their thumbs."


A celebrated professor, dining in company with a gaudy, discordant, and silly chatterer, was asked to help[Pg 352] her to the usual concomitant of boiled fowl. As he did so, he abstractedly murmured, "Parsley,—fatal to parrots."


When Boswell was first introduced to Dr. Johnson, he apologized to him for being a Scotchman. "I find," said he, "that I am come to London at a bad time, when great popular prejudice has gone forth against us North Britons; but when I am talking to you, I am talking to a large and liberal mind, and you know that I cannot help coming from Scotland."—"Sir," replied the doctor, archly, "no more can the rest of your countrymen."


Two gentlemen were lately examining the breast of a plough on a stall in a market-place. "I'll bet you a crown," said one, "you don't know what it's for."—"Done," said the other. "It is for sale." The bet was paid.


Thomas Hood says: "Puny draughts can hardly be called drinking. Pints cannot be deemed potations."


Brown drops in. Brown is said to be the toady of Jones. When Jones has the influenza, Brown dutifully catches cold in the head. Douglas Jerrold remarked to Brown, "Have you heard the rumor that's flying about town?"—"No."—"Well, they say that Jones pays the dog-tax for you."


Hood described a good church minister as "Piety parsonified."


One day a simple farmer, who had just buried a rich relation, an attorney, was complaining of the great expense[Pg 353] of a funeral cavalcade in the country. "Why, do you bury your attorneys here?" asked Foote. "Yes, to be sure we do: how else?"—"O, we never do that in London."—"No?" said the other, much surprised; "how do you manage, then?"—"Why, when the patient happens to die, we lay him out in a room over night by himself, lock the door, throw open the window, and in the morning he is gone."—"Indeed!" exclaimed the farmer, with amazement; "what becomes of him?"—"Why, that we cannot exactly tell; all we know is, there's a strong smell of brimstone in the room the next morning."


A man with a very short nose was continually ridiculing another, whose nose was remarkably long. The latter said to him one day, "You are always making observations upon my nose; perhaps you think it was made at the expense of yours."


A Yorkshire clergyman, preaching for the Blind Asylum, began by gravely remarking: "If all the world were blind, what a melancholy sight it would be!"


A lady requested her husband's permission to wear rouge. "I can give you permission, my dear," he replied, "only for one cheek."


Bishop Blomfield, when presiding over the diocese of London, had occasion to call the attention of the Essex incumbents to the necessity of residing in their parishes; and he reminded them that curates were, after all, of the same flesh and blood as rectors, and that the residence which was possible for the one, could not be quite impossible for the other. "Besides," added he, "there are two well-known preservatives against ague; the one is, a good deal of care and a little port wine; the other, a little care and a good deal of port wine. I prefer the former; but if[Pg 354] any of the clergy prefer the latter, it is at all events a remedy which incumbents can afford better than curates."


A Yorkshire nobleman, who was fond of boasting of his Norman descent, said to one of his tenants, whom he thought was not addressing him with proper respect: "Do you know, fellow, that my ancestors came over with William the Conqueror?"—"And, perhaps," retorted the sturdy Saxon, "they found mine here when they comed."


A laird's eldest son was rather a simpleton. Laird says, "I am going to send the young laird abroad."—"What for?" asks the tenant. Laird answered, "To see the world." Tenant replied, "But lordsake, laird, will no the world see him?"


It was said of a Bath physician, that he could not prescribe even for himself without a fee, and therefore, when unwell, he took a guinea out of one pocket and put it into the other.


When Foote was one day lamenting his growing old, a pert young fellow asked him what he would give to be as young as he. "I would be content," cried Foote, "to be as foolish." Jerrold made a similar reply to an empty-headed fellow who boasted of never being seasick. "Never!" said Douglas; "then I'd almost have your head with your stomach."


Once a gentleman, who had the marvellous gift of shaping a great many things out of orange-peel, was displaying his abilities at a dinner-party before Theodore Hook and Mr. Thomas Hill, and succeeded in counterfeiting a pig. Mr. Hill tried the same feat; and, after destroying and strewing the table with the peel of a dozen oranges, gave it[Pg 355] up, with the exclamation, "Hang the pig! I can't make him."—"Nay, Hill," exclaimed Hook, glancing at the mess on the table, "you have done more; instead of one pig, you have made a litter."


Manners, who had himself but lately been made Earl of Rutland, told Sir Thomas More "he was too much elated with his preferment; that he verified the old proverb, 'Honores mutant mores.'"—"No, my lord," said Sir Thomas, "the pun will do much better in English, 'Honors change Manners.'"


A gentleman was describing to Douglas Jerrold the story of his courtship and marriage,—how his wife had been brought up in a convent, and was on the point of taking the veil, when his presence burst upon her enraptured sight, and she accepted him as her husband. Jerrold listened to the end of the story, and then quietly remarked, "Ah! she evidently thought you better than nun."


A very fat man, for the purpose of quizzing his doctor, asked him to prescribe for a complaint, which he declared was sleeping with his mouth open. "Sir," said the doctor, "your disease is incurable. Your skin is too short, so that when you shut your eyes your mouth opens."


A wealthy but weak-headed barrister once remarked to Curran that "No one should be admitted to the Bar who had not an independent landed property."—"May I ask, sir," replied Curran, "how many acres make a wise-acre?"


Two young Irishmen, wishing to live cheaply, and to divide their expenses, agreed the one to board, and the other to lodge.[Pg 356]


Canning and another gentleman were looking at a picture of the Deluge: the ark was in the middle distance; in the fore-sea an elephant was seen struggling with his fate. "I wonder," said the gentleman, "that the elephant did not secure an inside place."—"He was too late, my friend," replied Canning; "he was detained packing up his trunk."


Some one was mentioning in Lamb's presence the cold-heartedness of the Duke of Cumberland, in restraining the duchess from rushing up to the embrace of her son, whom she had not seen for a considerable time, and insisting on her receiving him in state. "How horribly cold it was," said the narrator. "Yes," replied Lamb, in his stuttering way; "but you know he is the, Duke of Cu-cum-ber-land."


A clergyman at Cambridge preached a sermon which one of his auditors commended. "Yes," said the gentleman to whom it was mentioned, "it was a good sermon, but he stole it." This was repeated to the preacher, who resented it, and called on the gentleman to retract. "I will," replied the aggressor. "I said you had stolen the sermon. I find I was wrong, for on referring to the book whence I thought it was taken, I found it there."


Sir Boyle Roach had a servant who was as great an original as his master. Two days after the death of the baronet, this man waited upon a gentleman, who had been a most intimate friend of Sir Boyle, for the purpose of telling him that the time at which the funeral was to have taken place had been changed. "Sir," says he, "my master sends his compliments to you, and he won't be buried till to-morrow evening."


Foote, being annoyed by a poor fiddler straining harsh[Pg 357] discord under his window, sent him out a shilling, with a request that he would play elsewhere, as one scraper at the door was sufficient.


A shopkeeper at Doncaster had for his virtues obtained the name of the little rascal. A stranger asked him why this appellation had been given to him. "To distinguish me from the rest of my trade," quoth he, "who are all great rascals."


Doctor Garth, who used frequently to go to the Wit's Coffee House, the Cocoa-Tree, in St. James's Street, was sitting there one morning conversing with two persons of rank, when Rowe, the poet, who was seldom very attentive to his dress and appearance, but still insufferably vain of being noticed by persons of consequence, entered. Placing himself in a box nearly opposite to that in which the doctor sat, he looked constantly round with a view of catching his eye; but not succeeding, he desired the waiter to ask him for his snuff-box, which he knew to be a valuable one, set with diamonds, and the present of some foreign prince. After taking a pinch, he returned the box, but asked for it again so repeatedly, that Garth, who knew him well, perceived the drift, and taking from his pocket a pencil, wrote on the lid the two Greek characters, [Greek: Ph R] (phi, rho) Fie! Rowe! The poet was so mortified, that he quitted the room immediately.


'T is clear why Twister, wretched rat,
Always abuses in his chatter:
He's truly such a thorough flat,
We can't expect to see him flatter.


An attorney-general politely inquired after the health of a distinguished judge. "Mr. Attorney," was the reply, "I am in horrible good health at present."[Pg 358]


An illiterate vendor of beer wrote over his door at Harrogate, "Bear sold here."—"He spells the word quite correctly," said Theodore Hook, "if he means to apprise us that the article is his own Bruin."


The celebrated John Wilkes attended a City dinner not long after his promotion to city honors. Among the guests was a noisy vulgar deputy, a great glutton, who, on his entering the dinner-room, always with great deliberation took off his wig, suspended it on a pin, and with due solemnity put on a white cotton nightcap. Wilkes, who certainly was a high-bred man, and never accustomed to similar exhibitions, could not take his eyes from so strange and novel a picture. At length the deputy, with unblushing familiarity, walked up to Wilkes, and asked him whether he did not think that his nightcap became him. "O, yes, sir," replied Wilkes, "but it would look much better if it was pulled quite over your face."


Lord Melbourne, inspecting the kitchen of the Reform Club, jocosely remarked to Alexis Soyer, chef de cuisine, that his female assistants were all very pretty. "Yes, my lord," replied Soyer; "plain cooks will not do here."


At charity meetings, one Mould always volunteered to go round with the hat, but was suspected of sparing his own pocket. Overhearing one day a hint to that effect, he made the following speech: "Other gentlemen puts down what they thinks proper, and so does I. Charity's a private concern, and what I gives is nothing to nobody."


Dryden's translation of Virgil being commended by a right reverend bishop, Lord Chesterfield said, "The original is indeed excellent; but everything suffers by a translation,—except a bishop!"[Pg 359]


Philip, Earl of Stanhope, whose dress always corresponded with the simplicity of his manners, was once prevented from going into the House of Peers, by a doorkeeper who was unacquainted with his person. Lord Stanhope was resolved to get into the House without explaining who he was; and the doorkeeper, equally determined on his part, said to him, "Honest man, you have no business here. Honest man you can have no business in this place."—"I believe," rejoined his lordship, "you are right; honest men can have no business here."


Sydney Smith, calling one day upon a fellow contributor to the Edinburgh Review, found him reading a book preparatory to writing an account of it, and expostulated with him. "Why, how do you manage?" asked his friend. "I never," said the wit, "read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices one so."


On the approach of the election at Westminster, when Earl Percy was returned, Mr. Denis O'Brien, the agent of Mr. Sheridan, said, that "there were thousands in Westminster who would sooner vote for the Duke of Northumberland's porter, than give their support to a man of talent and probity, like Mr. Sheridan." Mr. Whitbread, alarmed for the interests of Mr. S. by the intemperate language of his agent, wished him to take some public notice of it in the way of censure; but Sheridan only observed, "that to be sure his friend O'Brien was wrong and intemperate, as far as related to the Duke of Northumberland's porter; though he had no doubt there were thousands in Westminster who would give the preference to Mr. Whitbread's entire."


A young spendthrift being apprised that he had given a shilling when sixpence would have been enough, remarked that "He knew no difference between a shilling[Pg 360] and sixpence."—"But you will, young gentleman," an old economist replied, "when you come to be worth eighteen-pence."


Daniel Defoe said there was only this difference between the fates of Charles the First and his son James the Second,—that the former's was a wet martyrdom, and the other's a dry one.


The collector in a country church, where a brief was read for a sufferer from fire, flattered himself that he had been unusually successful in the collection, as he fancied he saw an agent to one of the fire-offices put a note into the box. On examining the contents, however, he found that the note had not issued from any bank, but merely bore these admonitory words, "Let them insure, as they wish to be saved."


A young farmer, inspecting his father's concerns in the time of hay-harvest, found a body of the mowers asleep, when they should have been at work. "What is this?" cried the youth; "why, me, you are so indolent, that I would give a crown to know which is the most lazy of you."—"I am he," cried the one nearest to him, still stretching himself at his ease. "Here then" said the youth, holding out the money. "O, Master George," said the fellow, folding his arms, "do pray take the trouble of putting it into my pocket for me."


A country editor thinks that Richelieu, who declared that "The pen was mightier than the sword," ought to have spoken a good word for the "scissors." Jerrold called scissors "an editor's steel-pen."


A person calling one day on a gentleman at the west[Pg 361] end of the town, where his visits were more frequent than welcome, was told by the servant that her master had gone out. "O, well, never mind, I'll speak to your mistress."—"She's also gone out, sir." The gentleman, not willing to be denied admission, said, as it was a cold day, he would step in, and sit down by the fire a few minutes. "Ah! sir, but it is gone out too," replied the girl.


"Honesty is the best policy," said a Scotchman. "I know it, my friend, for I have tried baith."


When Mr. Charles Yorke was returned a member for the University of Cambridge, about the year 1770, he went round the Senate to thank those who had voted for him. Among the number was a Mr. P., who was proverbial for having the largest and most hideous face that ever was seen. Mr. Yorke, in thanking him, said, "Sir, I have great reason to be thankful to my friends in general, but confess myself under a particular obligation to you for the very remarkable countenance you have shown me upon this occasion."


Is a most sensible and valuable law, banishing gallantry and chivalry from Cabinets, and preventing the amiable antics of grave statesmen.


After Byron's engagement in the West Indies, there was a great clamor about the badness of the ammunition. Soon after this, Mr. Fox had a duel with Mr. Adam. On receiving that gentleman's ball, and finding that it had made but little impression, he exclaimed, "Egad, Adam, it had been all over with me, if you had not charged with government powder!"


Among the daly inquirers after the health of an aged[Pg 362] Bishop of D——m, during his indisposition, no one was more sedulously punctual than the Bishop of E——r; and the invalid seemed to think that other motives than those of anxious kindness might contribute to this solicitude. One morning he ordered the messenger to be shown into his room, and thus addressed him: "Be so good as present my compliments to my Lord Bishop, and tell him that I am better, much better; but that the Bishop of W——r has got a sore throat, arising from a bad cold, if that will do."


A gentleman dining at an hotel, was annoyed by a stupid waiter continually coming hovering round the table, and desired him to retire. "Excuse me, sir," said Napkin, drawing himself up, "but I'm responsible for the silver."


Dr. Donne, the Dean of St. Paul's, having married a lady of a rich and noble family without the consent of the parents, was treated with great asperity. Having been told by the father that he was to expect no money from him, the doctor went home and wrote the following note to him: "John Donne, Anne Donne, undone." This quibble had the desired effect, and the distressed couple were restored to favor.


Sir Walter Scott once happening to hear his daughter Anne say of something, that it was vulgar, gave the young lady the following temperate rebuke: "My love, you speak like a very young lady; do you know, after all, the meaning of this word vulgar? 'Tis only common; nothing that is common, except wickedness, can deserve to be spoken of in a tone of contempt; and when you have lived to my years, you will be disposed to agree with me in thanking God that nothing really worth having or caring about in this world is uncommon."


A gentleman passing a country church while under[Pg 363] repair, observed to one of the workmen, that he thought it would be an expensive job. "Why, yes," replied he; "but in my opinion we shall accomplish what our reverend divine has endeavored to do, for the last thirty years, in vain."—"What is that?" said the gentleman. "Why, bring all the parish to repentance."


A prosy old gentleman meeting Jerrold, related a long, limp account of a stupid practical joke, concluding with the information that "he really thought he should have died with laughter."—"I wish to heaven you had," was Jerrold's reply.


Mr. Bartleman, a celebrated bass-singer, was taken ill, just before the commencement of the musical festival at Gloucester: another basso was applied to, at a short notice, who attended, and acquitted himself to the satisfaction of everybody. When he called on the organist to be paid, the latter thanked him most cordially for the noble manner in which he had sung; and concluded with the following very complimentary and pleasant message: "When you see poor Bartleman, give my best regards to him; and tell him how much we missed him during the festival!"


As Berkeley, the celebrated author of the Immaterial Theory, was one morning musing in the cloisters of Dublin College, an acquaintance came up to him, and, seeing him rapt in contemplation, hit him a smart rap on the shoulder with his cane. The dean starting, called out, "What's the matter?" His acquaintance, looking him steadily in the face, replied, "No matter, Berkeley."


A Barrister attempting to browbeat a female witness, told her she had brass enough to make a saucepan. The woman retorted, "and you have sauce enough to fill it."[Pg 364]


Dr. Fuller having requested one of his companions to make an epitaph for him, received the following:

"Here lies Fuller's earth!"


Sir Boyle Roach, the droll of the Irish bar, sent an amusingly equivocal invitation to an Irish nobleman of his acquaintance: "I hope, my Lord, if ever you come within a mile of my house, that you'll stay there all night." When he was suffering from an attack of gout, he thus rebuked his shoemaker: "O, you're a precious blockhead to do directly the reverse of what I desired you. I told you to make one of the shoes larger than the other, and instead of that you have made one of them smaller than the other!"


An Irish peasant being asked why he permitted his pig to take up its quarters with his family, made an answer abounding with satirical naïveté: "Why not? Doesn't the place afford every convenience that a pig can require?"


In Bannister's time, a farce was performed under the title of "Fire and Water."—"I predict its fate," said he. "What fate?" whispered the anxious author at his side. "What fate!" said Bannister; "why, what can fire and water produce but a hiss?"


Lord Chesterfield one day, at an inn where he dined, complained very much that the plates and dishes were very dirty. The waiter, with a degree of pertness, observed, "It is said every one must eat a peck of dirt before he dies."—"That may be true," said Chesterfield, "but no one is obliged to eat it all at one meal, you dirty dog."[Pg 365]


(On Bishop ——'s Religion.)

Though not a Catholic, his lordship has,
'Tis plain, strong disposition to a-mass (a mass).


Dr. Cadogan was boasting of the eminence of his profession, and spoke loudly against the injustice of the world, which was so satirical against it; "but," he added, "I have escaped, for no one complains of me."—"That is more than you can tell, doctor," said a lady who was present, "unless you know what people say in the other world."


A lady, walking with her husband at the seaside, inquired of him the difference between exportation and transportation. "Why, my dear," he replied, "if you were on board yonder vessel, leaving England, you would be exported, and I should be transported!"


A man with one eye laid a wager with another man, that he (the one-eyed person) saw more than the other. The wager was accepted. "You have lost," says the first; "I can see the two eyes in your face, and you can see only one in mine."


Sheridan was once asked by a gentleman: "How is it that your name has not an O prefixed to it? Your family is Irish, and no doubt illustrious."—"No family," replied Sheridan, "has a better right to an O than our family; for, in truth, we owe everybody."


Said Bluster to Whimple, "You juvenile fool,
Get out of my way, do you hear?"
Said Whimple, "A fool did you say? by that rule
I'm much in your way as I fear."
[Pg 366]


The late Lord Dudley and Ward was one of the most absent of men. Meeting Sydney Smith one day in the street, he invited him to meet himself! "Dine with me to-day,—dine with me to-day,—I will get Sydney Smith to meet you." The witty canon admitted the temptation held out to him, but said, "he was engaged with him elsewhere."


A captain, remarkable for his uncommon height, being one day at the rooms at Bath, the late Princess Amelia was struck with his appearance; and being told that he had been originally intended for the Church, "Rather for the steeple," replied the royal humorist.


Lord Chesterfield, being told that a certain termagant and scold was married to a gamester, replied, "that cards and brimstone made the best matches."


The reigning bore at one time in Edinburgh was Professor L——; his favorite subject the North Pole. One day the arch tormentor met Jeffrey in a narrow lane, and began instantly on the North Pole. Jeffrey, in despair, and out of all patience, darted past him, exclaiming, "Hang the North Pole!" Sydney Smith met Mr. L—— shortly after, boiling over with indignation at Jeffrey's contempt of the North Pole. "O, my dear fellow," said Sydney, "never mind; no one minds what Jeffrey says, you know; he is a privileged person,—he respects nothing, absolutely nothing. Why, you will scarcely credit it, but it is not more than a week ago that I heard him speak disrespectfully of the Equator."


Sydney Smith once said: "I remember entering a room with glass all round it at the French embassy, and[Pg 367] saw myself reflected on every side. I took it for a meeting of the clergy, and was delighted of course."


When Julia was asked, if to church she would go,
The fair one replied to me, "No, Richard, no."
At her meaning I ventured a pretty good guess,
For from grammar I learned No and No stood for Yes.


A lady's beauty is dear to her at all times. A very lovely woman, worn out with a long and painful sickness, begged her attendants to desist rubbing her temples with Hungary water, as it would make her hair gray!


A prisoner, who had received notice that he was to die the next morning, was asked by some of his unfortunate companions to share their repast with them. He answered, "I never eat anything that I expect will not digest."


Those who wish to tax anything containing intelligence, must be actuated by selfish views, seeing that it is an imposition of which they are not likely to feel the burden.


A Glasgow professor met a poor student passing along one of the courts, and remarked to him that his gown was very short. "It will be long enough before I get another," answered the student. The reply tickled the professor's fancy so much that he continued in a state of suppressed laughter after passing on. Meeting a brother professor, who asked him what was amusing him so much, he told the story with a slightly varied reading. "I asked that fellow why he had so short a gown, and he answered, it will be a long time before I get another."—"Well, there's nothing very funny in that."—"Neither there is," said[Pg 368] the professor, "I don't understand how it amused me so much. It must have been something in the way he said it."


When Foote was on his way to France, for change of air, he went into the kitchen at the inn at Dover, to order a particular dish for dinner. The true English cook boasted that she had never set foot out of her country. On this, the invalid gravely observed, "Why, cookey, that's very extraordinary, as they tell me up stairs that you have been several times all over grease!"—"They may tell you what they please above or below stairs," replied the cook, "but I was never ten miles from Dover in my life!"—"Nay, now, that must be a fib," says Foote, "for I have myself seen you at Spithead!" The next day (October 21, 1777) the exhausted wit "shuffled off this mortal coil."


There is so much genuine humor in the following jocular dinner code, that we cannot do better than close our little volume with it.


Of the Amphitryon.—His Rights.

Art. 1.—The Amphitryon is the king of the table: his empire lasts as long as the meal, and ends with it.

Art. 2.—It is lawful for his glass to exceed in capacity those of his guests.

Art. 3.—He may be lively with his male guests, and gallant towards the females; to such of them as are pretty he may risk a compliment or two, which is sure to be received from him with an approving smile.

His Duties.

Art. 1.—Fulfilling to the utmost the laws of hospitality, he watches with paternal solicitude over the welfare of the stomachs committed to his care; reassures the timid, encourages the modest, and incites the vigorous appetite.[Pg 369]

Art. 2.—He must abstain from praising either his dishes or his wines.

Art. 3.—He is not to take advantage of his situation to utter stale jests or vulgar puns. A careful perusal of "The Jest Book" will be his best security against a violation of this article.

Art. 4.—The police of the table belongs of right to him; he should never permit a plate or a glass to be either full or empty.

Art. 5.—On rising from table, he should cast a scrutinizing glance over the glasses. If he sees them not quite emptied, let him take warning by it to choose either his guests or his wine better for the future.

Of the Guests.

Art. 1.—The first duty of a guest is to arrive at the time named, at whatever inconvenience to himself.

Art. 2.—When the Amphitryon offers any dish to a guest, his only civil way of declining it is by requesting to be helped a second time to that of which he has just partaken.

Art. 3.—A guest who is a man of the world will never begin a conversation until the first course is over; up to that point, dinner is a serious affair, from which the attention of the party ought not to be inconsiderately distracted.

Art. 4.—Whatever conversation is going on ought to be suspended, even in the middle of a sentence, upon the entrance of a dinde aux truffes.

Art. 5.—An applauding laugh is indispensable to every joke of the Amphitryon.

Art. 6.—A guest is culpable who speaks ill of his entertainer during the first three hours after dinner. Gratitude should last at least as long as digestion.

Art. 7.—To leave anything on your plate is to insult your host in the person of his cook.

Art. 8.—A guest who leaves the table deserves the fate of a soldier who deserts.[Pg 370]

On Vicinity to Ladies.

Art. 1.—He who sits next to a lady becomes at once her cavaliere servente. He is bound to watch over her glass with as much interest as over his own.

Art. 2.—The gentleman owes aid and protection to his fair neighbor in the selection of food; the lady on her part is bound to respect and obey the recommendations of her knight on this subject.

Art. 3.—It is bad taste for the gentleman to advance beyond politeness during the first course; in the second, however, he is bound to be complimentary; and he is at liberty to glide into tenderness with the dessert.

On Vicinity to Men.

Art. 1.—When two gentlemen sit together, they owe no duties to each other beyond politeness and reciprocal offers of wine and water,—the last offer becomes an error after one refusal.

Art. 2.—On being helped to a dish, you should at once accept any precedence offered you by your neighbor; ceremony serves only to cool the plate in question for both parties.

Art. 3.—If you sit near the Amphitryon, your criticisms on the repast must be conveyed in a whisper; aloud you can do nothing but approve.

Art. 4.—Under no pretext can two neighbors at table be permitted to converse together on their private affairs, unless, indeed, one of them is inviting the other to dinner.

Art. 5.—Two neighbors who understand each other may always get more wine than the rest of the guests; they have only to say by turns to each other, with an air of courtesy, "Shall we take some wine?"

On Vicinity to Children.

Single Article.—The only course to be pursued, if you have the misfortune to be placed next a child at table, is[Pg 371] to make him tipsy as quick as you can, that he may be sent out of the room by Mamma.

On the Means of reconciling Politeness with Egotism.

Art. 1.—The epicure's serious attention should be fixed upon the articles on the table; he may lavish his politeness, his wit, and his gayety upon the people who sit round it.

Art. 2.—By helping the dish next yourself (should you not dine à la Russe) you acquire a right to be helped to any other dish on the table.

Art. 3.—A carver must be very unskilful who cannot, by a little sleight-of-hand, smuggle aside the best morsel of a dish, and thus, when serving himself last, serve himself also the best.

Art. 4.—Your host's offers are sometimes insincere when they refer to some magnificent dish yet uncut. In such cases you should refuse feebly for yourself, but accept on behalf of the lady next you,—merely out of politeness to her.

Art. 5.—The thigh of all birds, boiled, is preferable to the wing: never lose sight of this in helping ignoramuses or ladies.[Pg 373]

[Pg 372]


Transcriber's notes